Thursday, 24 October 2013

When Coffee Becomes Whiskey

and emotional entitlement in the name of sincerity.

There's a disturbing upward trend in the amount of espresso needed to be enthused about things. Function I can do just fine, but in work and relationships and finding new places to live and responding to the question "what's new?" ("increased hair loss!") there's a certain amount of enthusiasm that's wanted by the askers. Not just an "I'm-so-excited" sort of enthusiasm, but the more specific, emotionally subdued, but still intense sincerity of an answer. The sort of convincing that can deflect the follow up "are you REALLY fine" question, usually from old friends or people at the bar who especially pride themselves on being genuine and not phony.

and yes, sometimes you need a person to shake you out of auto-response, but the whole "people never say what they mean when you ask them how they are" meme, one passed down from generation to generation of sincere, artistic, caring people (who are just searching for SOME sort of human connection in this increasingly disconnected yar blargh ermpha hrmpha) fails to recognize a few basic things:
One is that sometimes people are actually fine. Not great, not awful, not particularly qualifiable, just, you know, alright. No one's died, no one's got a raise, the level of laid-getting remains steady as what it has been, the movie was decent.
Another is that if you are my friend and you trust me, after the first "wait, really? because you look sorta. . ." (which yes, annoying questions are a basic tenant of friendship) then respect the fact that, at the very least, I don't want to talk about it. And just as likely, I am telling the truth. If you think I am constantly lying about my emotional state at all times, then you have shitty taste in friends.
Aaannnnnnnnnnd, if you're a stranger, keep in mind that while every now and then an honest "you know, I've had a shitty day" is refreshing, you really want me to be fine. Or at least you don't want me to be all "Yeah, I'm not having a good day, but unless you're about to cut me a check for 200,000 and give me a full deep-tissue massage, there's not a goddamn thing you can do about it, kiddo."
It is important when dispatching ostensibly well meaning strangers that you call them "kiddo," especially if they're old and fought in a war.

All this relevants to the in-between-strangers-and-friends relationships that occur around moving, as I'm about to go do some paperwork on a spot I want to move into, and all the attendant lite schmooze that requires, and after four shots of espresso and an egg fried with spinach onto flattened bread, all I really want to do is take a swing.

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