Sunday, December 11, 2005Goodbye Already
This is the part I find tiresome.
People (mostly women, it goes without saying) keep coming up to me and saying, "ohmigod, you're going to be gone soon! I'll never see you again!" And then they insist on hugging me.
Don't get me wrong -- I like hugs as much as the next person, although generally I prefer them if I actually know and like the person doing the hugging. But I will usually accept a hug from all but the most repugnant people. The thing that actually bothers me about this is the gross pretense of it all.
My unspoken reply:
"Please, you don't even know me; you've said barely a dozen words to me in the last year. And that's okay, I didn't mind, I didn't really want you in my business anyway; but don't now pretend that you're going to miss me terribly once I'm gone. Ten minutes after I leave the driveway you will forget you ever met me, and that's as it should be. So, yes, we are parting ways -- let's at least salvage our dignity in this separation. My affection is reserved for my actual friends, and you, as good and valuable a person as you are, are not among their number."
Admittedly I'm not the most sentimental person in the world. I don't waste these kinds of words on the 99.9% of the world's population that aren't my close associates. But at least when I tell my friends that I love/miss/appreciate them, they'll know I really mean it. There are a couple of people I've met here that I wouldn't mind seeing again one day, and I will feel a bit sorry to say goodbye to them. But then again, I've done it a hundred times before -- leaving is one of my specialties. And whatever faint melancholy results from saying goodbye to casual acquaintances will be quickly alleviated by my reunion with other people whom I miss even more. And wherever I'm going, either to Memphis or points beyond, I'm sure there are more new people to meet, and by whom to one day be superficially hugged goodbye. And one or two, perhaps, to love and miss. |