My grandmother would say "We didn't sleep together last night, you must greet me in the morning". So I know that my non-response towards the vicinity of another warm-blooded bipedal animal, isn't anything new but a tradition for me.
I just finished reading my father's copy of Frank Herbert's Dune, and in the book he talks about the VOICE. I guess this is something I can relate to. I will respond to those who speak to me in what I feel are appropriate tonal ranges, that don't feel like knee-jerk responses.
There is an overly chipper guest here who states "Hello" so bright and cheerful you can literally see the exclamation mark after it, but it doesn't bely the nervousness behind it, the societal need to say something. I feel we would be much better off if we said less (as I continue to type this blog entry).
I glared back at this guy, this being the second time he had assaulted me with his nervous hello. I thought he would have gotten the message and just left me alone, but the look in his eye was that of man's best friend waiting to get his ears scratched after making a bowel movement. I just had no desire to scratch this guys ears, so I maintained my veil of silence and kept moving.
"Good morning." pause pause "I said good morning!" This from an older black male I just reverted to my "training" and said hello, my voice laced with annoyance and condescension. Just because I glanced in your direction doesn't mean I need to acknowledge you beyond the aforementioned glance. Are we so lacking attention that we crave these inconsequential interactions with perfect strangers? In my household a "good morning" was supposed to met with the same, regardless of if that particular morning wasn't good.
Maybe my dysthymia gives me a different perspective of the subtleties and nuances of how a day is going. But when my time is my own I choose silence as oppose to feel into the hegemony that everything is so great.
When I am working, I camouflage my natural instinct and will be that first one to instigate a "Good Morning!", and dare you not to reply with the same. In that forum its a mask part of the role I play when I step into the corporate world, part of the charm of character to "care" about how people are in the morning and if they are really having a good morning.
In the work place I learned of an excellent rote response to a question I never really like answering, but people seemed compelled to always ask you, also on my list of nervous utterances. "How you doin?" In its essence it seems innocuous, simple, direct. But for someone who ponders even the lint in his navel it becomes a serious philosophical conundrum that is layered with infinite nuances. How am I doing? Had I really had enough hours of the morning awake to answer this question responsibly, truthfully and directly?
Maybe I complicated very simple societal pleasantry and etiquette, maybe this was my inner iconoclast wanting to people to consider more seriously if they really wanted to know the answer to that question. When I met Phyliss Yvonne Stickney she helped me find a way to answer this question that not only made people think about the actually question but bought attention to the fact that I was cognitive of the seriousness of the question.
"Good Morning, Phyliss, how are you?"
"I am blessed, anyhow." she would respond and continue about her business, never for a moment thinking of the wake of destruction she left in her path with her own personal schtick. The "anyhow" added a nuance, that could be interpreted a number of ways based on the delivery and inflection. It also bought religion or spirituality into the picture, which is an entire nuance into itself. I adapted the potent response myself and was pleasantly amused by how it changed my perception by the person who thought he was going to ask me a very intimate question and not know that I had had a good solid response.
In the work place this gave me an air of religious dignity or spiritual enlightenment, something not common to corporate america, and usually discourage, but not overt enough to make the recipient too uncomfortable but to make them cautious the next time they blurted that nervous question in a ritualistic fashion without understanding the repercussions of their actions. In more casual settings, I learned that there was an addendum to the phrase "and highly favored". Which led me to believe that its roots lead somewhere to the church, not surprising with me first hearing it from and mid-aged black woman.
Maybe I will always just be a cranky loner or maybe someday will get a clue and leave me alone. I wish people would say what the meant. I wish we were more honest with the things that come out of our mouths.