A Systematic Distaste

3. Saying Hello

I have a friend who is very outgoing. He may not have much going on, and so when he is in your part of town he might come stop and say hello. It’s quite often that I’ll get a text saying “hey man, just doing some errands, you at work?” And with or without a reply, this person will show up where I work to say hello. It’s not something that is all that intrusive, especially since I met this friend at the place I currently work. However, this friend will often make an effort to go above and beyond for a hello. Today, for example, this friend called me saying “hey, I’m sorry I missed your call yesterday! I’ll be around today though, and should be around soon to say hi and smoke a bowl if you want.” I told him that would be fine and asked when I could expect him, to which he told me about an hour or so. This was at 10:30 a.m. It is now 3:30. Even though I do not have much planned for my day, I have still gone about it expecting my friend to be at the door any minute to hang out with me, which gets old after four hours or so.

He then told me that he didn’t actually have time to stop by and asked what I was doing later tonight. “It doesn’t matter. Have a good day man,” I responded.

This all begs the questions as to why someone would need to stop in and say hello. And moreover, why the hell would they warm me of such a thing, especially when it is potentially not even an option? I feel like this would be if I texted my friends saying “making dinner, I could have lots of leftovers to bring over tonight!” And then, in fact, ate all of the food in my house without telling anyone.

When I see someone I know out shopping in the same place as me, I generally do my best to stay hidden. A conversation in the grocery store can get intimate quickly.

“Oh, wow I haven’t seen you in so long! So, how long have you only been drinking Red Bull and eating white King Soopers brand rice?”

Recently I saw a childhood friend’s mother in Hobby Lobby. When I approached her to say hello, she looked like I was about to rob her. “Huh? My son? You know him? Oh, right, you grew up together for ten years.” Then came the scowl and the “why don’t you call him anymore?” I suppose I cant get mad any anyone’s mother for thinking their sons’ friend’s lives revolve around their son.

I feel like the only people who really want to say hello in the grocery store are those that are either doing incredibly well, or incredibly poorly. No one ever runs up to you in a public space to say “hey! Everything is just how it was the last time you saw me! Nothing important going on here! How is your life? Please, tell me about it while I listen, genuinely interested in what you have to say with nothing prepared in my back pocket about myself!” I wonder how often the news of a death, or an abortion, or something else drastic or life-changing is delivered through a quick gotcha out in public. With the evolution of Facebook and other social media platforms, I bet the grocery store is the last viable place a soap opera could actually happen now. “Sandy, I am so glad I caught you, you haven’t responded to my pokes.”

“Why, I am terribly sorry, what with Edwards coma and all.” Tune in next week to listen to information reserved for personal space, yet thrust into public due to passive aggression.

I don’t know exactly where I stand on breast feeding in public, although I’m sure it’s made for some incredible grocery-store-hellos.

I think maybe I loathe the in-public hi so much is because I just don’t like it. I don’t like grocery shopping. Or shopping in general. To me it’s just another monotonous task that has recently undergone a revival through trendiness, for no reason. Like making clothes, or canning your own foods, or making whiskey. Or shaving. And if I don’t want someone to text me and say “hey I might be around later to help you with that shave,” and then flake, or have someone show up all-together when I don’t expect them and I’m shaving, then why would I want a random hello at the grocery store?


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