Monday, February 16, 2009

110 - Saying goodbye to someone, then leaving in the same direction

I'm sure you've said goodbye to someone after a party or a dinner with an old friend, only to feel silly soon after when you discover that you're actually going to leave in the same direction as the person you chirpily chirped toodle-oo to. As you walk side-by-side, in the same direction, you're then faced with the agonizing dilemma of whether or not you should bid each other farewell once more when you do, in fact, part ways for real.

While you take one slow step after another, it's painfully awkward walking alongside them.
Is it inappropriate for you to exclaim 'bye-bye' again after saying it earlier?

As you stare downwards at your feet and their feet, and notice that their steps are synchronized with yours, the tension of the situation is making your shoulders a little stiff and it's sending chills down your spine. Do you express the second goodbye with the same vehemence as the first time? Or will that just make it sound like you're happy to be leaving them?

Really, though, you just can't bear to walk beside them any longer. It's too painful. This is a station on the Social Line that your train usually doesn't stop at. Is my friend thinking the same thoughts? Oh, my God, what if we say goodbye a second time and then it happens again? Quick, quick! Recall a joke to break the ice! Say something! Grasp at straws!

As long as you interact with people, this very vexatious situation is bound to come up. It just happens, no matter how high our IQ is. I mean, a lot of us have this foolishly preconceived notion, with no substantial premises, that nobody else will exit in the same direction we do. Some of us don't know where people are going after an event because we're too self-involved to ask. Some of us know where people are heading afterward, but lack a directional sense.

Or perhaps what's most likely the case is that we're just too carelessly eager to flee, to escape some grueling group gathering, to break away from a bunch of buffoons that you can no longer stand.
It's when an interntionally swift goodbye backfires that makes things most excruciating.

Remember what we're talking about here:
I hate it when I say goodbye to someone, only to be leaving in the same way afterward. Someone shoot me the next time that happens.


yolanda said...

brilliantly written.

that kind of situation is nearly as awkward as when you're walking towards someone and by attempting to avoid each other end up lunging in the same direction. repeatedly. ugh.

gaf85 said...

Michael, This has happened to me before and I tend to turn towards humor and make a joke of some kind. "How can I miss you when you won't go away". (A song by Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks)

J.J. in L.A. said...

This has never happened to me because, as we walk out of the restaurant (what have you), I alway ask, "Where are you parked?"

If they are going my way, we say 'goodbye' near our vehicles. If they're parked in a different direction, we say 'goodbye' in front of the venue and go our separate ways.

Madame DeFarge said...

I never talk to anyone. Thus I am spared this social gafe. If I ever did have to engage in such idle activity, I would follow JJ's approach and identify their hithering and thithering, so avoiding the dithering.

Michael said...

Yolanda: This post was actually difficult for me to phrase eloquently and succinctly. The problem you refer to is actually a good start to the post on that topic, although, I'll have to find some more creative things to say about it.

gaf85: Ah, very good. :D

J.J.: That's a good idea. I know a girl that asks that when we step out of a place.

Madame DeFarge: You never talk to anyone?

Louise said...

When that happens to me I just laugh and say, "Oh! You're still here! Did you miss me too soon??" Yeah, we often joke on little things. And yet it's not awkward or anything. I think it's better going home with someone with me. It's comforting.^__^

Michael said...

Louise: Well, you must pull that off really well, because a line like that sounds a lot cheesy. :D

snow_white said...

God! I remember saying "goodbye" to someone three times, thinking that we're gonna go different ways each time we turn a street! thats fuuny and annoying at the same time...i never thought about how annoying i find it till i read your post:)

Kate said...

i totally did that at school the other day with my friend.


Michael said...

Snow White: Precisely what I'm aiming to do. It's very annoying, indeed.

Kate: Yikes.

Jen said...

I laughed soooo hard. Just what I needed tonight. Thanks!!