Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Friendliness Gene

Do you ever have one of those days where you're feeling so pissed off at the world that you go out of your way just to avoid normal human interaction? Today, that's me.

This is mostly due to the fact that I had to get up earlier than usual to trudge through traffic and be at work on time (which seldom happens) for training. It is also because my special monthly visitor came by today (if that's too much information for you, go read someone else's blog). But, there is a third component to my people-averse ways...simply put, I think I lack the friendliness gene.

Sure, I can be a generally friendly person. I can hold my own in social situations, I can make jokes (sometimes), and I do enjoy the occassional gossip. However, what I especially don't enjoy is speaking to random people. You know, in the elevator, at the market, waiting for the "walk" sign...there are people everywhere just dying to talk to someone. And I really don't welcome it.

Anyway, back to today. I come in this morning, and I'm in the parking garage walking to the elevator. As I'm going in the elevator, I notice someone coming toward me. So, logically, I hit the close button repetitively and take off before they can make in it. Nice, huh?

Once at work, I'm walking down the hall to the bathroom and I notice someone a ways behind me. I quickly punch in the door code, rush in to the bathroom, and thrust the door closed before the person can catch me--all this just to avoid actually speaking to someone.

Yes, I know it's polite to exchange pleasantries, but sometimes I'm just not up for it. This is a crappy day and all I want to do is hide in my cubicle and curl up in my chair. It's days like today where I wish I could wear a sign that says, "Mental health day: Please do not speak to me." I think everyone needs a day of just being with themselves--a day to think things over and ponder their lives.

But there's certain people who, no matter what signals you're giving off, ignore those completely and insist on unloading themselves upon you. You know who I'm talking about. It's usually strangers who do this.

Example: A co-worker of mine is always wanting to talk about his family. I understand that he's proud of his family, but he goes off on random tangents whenever anyone is within earshot. Another colleague told me the guy actually had him cornered in the elevator one day. He physically trapped someone in order to force a conversation upon him. That's a bit messed up, but at least these two had a pre-existing relationship (they knew each other first).

Another example in which this is not the case: I'm at the pharmacy waiting for my medication, when some random lady in front of me literally starts telling me about her day. No preface to the conversation. Just an "Oh, by the way, please humor me while I talk about myself"-type of thing.

What is the deal with this? This is even more messed up. Does she sit at home only talking to her cat so much that she craves human interaction this violently? Really, it's an invasion of my aural space.

In conclusion, to borrow from those amazing 80s TV public service announcements...It's conversational harassment. And I don't have to take it (except I really do have to take it, since I'd go even more out of my way not to piss off a random person that I would simply not to speak to them). Yeah.


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