Sunday, October 18, 2009

178 - Running into an acquaintance

"How are you, Michael? Long time no see!"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm great. You?"
"I'm good. What are you up to nowadays?"
"Oh, nothing much, studying anthro—"
"Right, that's cool, man. I'm actually on my way to the bus stop. Catch up some time, okay?"
"Later, dude!"

Have you ever had these sorts of conversations?

If you have, it's probably because you ran into an acquaintance. Acquaintances are people whom you met at a distant time in the past and from that point onward, you are obliged by the rules of society to greet or give a nod to that person whenever you see them. It's a friendly gesture that carries with it all of that "common courtesy" poppycock, but if you're asking for my opinion, it's annoyingly pointless.

Chances are you met this person because you were just stuck together in a long queue at the supermarket, or because you shared the same high school, or because some idiotic mutual friend introduced you two at a large gathering, thus coercing you into 'knowing' this person you didn't wish to approach on your own, and from that initial exchange of names onwards, you and your acquaintance tacitly pledge to say 'hi' to each other for the rest of your life whenever you meet in the curiously coincidental lives we lead.

It's a small world, you may have heard. And you will have hundreds of opportunities to engage in these uncomfortable conversations.

Sure, we have known their names and faces for years, and we spend a great deal of time stalking them on Facebook, but to me, if there's nothing important to say, there's no need to say anything at all. This societal rule sucks, and we are people with our own lives to lead; we have things to do and places to be. We do not need to waste our times on these associates if there's nothing of value to be shared.

What do you think about running into old acquaintances?


plentymorefishoutofwater said...

Ah, the stop and chat - that's what Larry David calls it. I hate them too. Try to avoid them at all costs, even if it means crossing the road. Occasionally I will say 'We have nothing to say to one another, do we' mid-stop and chat.
Nice blogging.

Marcy said...

I hate stop and chats, too. I think just a nod and hello is enough. No reason to start up a meaningless conversation and then think of a fake excuse to go about your day.

Douglas said...

A ritual of humanity and civilization. You will learn many more of them, some bizarre, some banal (like this one). All have some purpose in our cultures.

That being said, I get annoyed by them also.

Eugene said...



And? Why the hell would I try to make a lovely relationship with you IF WE'RE QUEUING (I made a mistake trying to type that word. Yes, in all humility I ADMIT THAT) on a VERY. LONG. LINE. Question mark?

rawcogs said...

Awman, Canterbury seems like such a dreamland to live in. Do you miss Hong Kong tho?

Sarah_J said...

In all honesty - I like them

Argentum Vulgaris said...

I have had some good ones, but mostly they are a nuisance...

btw Michael, you've been tagged:


tattytiara said...

Never dismiss a good opportunity to practice your skills of deception.

"Oh nothing much, you know, genetically modifying gorillas, overthrowing small governments, trying to get to the gym more often."

Eveliiina<3 said...

seriously i just have to say , Michael, your posts make me happy haha :) i LOOOVE YOUR BLOG

Michael said...

plentymorefishoutofwater: I love Curb Your Enthusiasm, I think he is so funny. This acquaintance thing only came to my mind when I arrived in England, British people are so worried about their manners, don't you think? As much as I would like to take the confrontational and resolving approach to this common problem, I wouldn't want to make things even more uncomfortable and awkward, although I do admire the courage in facing the issue directly.

Marcy: Exactly. I truly could not care less. But it just makes me uncomfortable when I know the other people expect it of me.

Douglas: A ritual in the British civilization.

Eugene: I usually shove earphones in my ear sockets whenever I go out just so I don't have to partake in such banality.

rawcogs: Dreamland? I will come over to your blog to reply.

Sarah: lol. You must explain.

AV: I will get right on it.

tattytiara: Hahaha. I have wanted to say something like that, but I just don't feel too bothered about entertaining their plastic curiosity.

Evelina: I'm so happy to know my blog makes you happy. I will come by your blog soon. :)