So I'm smoking a cigarette out the window at home, because although I'm resigned to being a smoker, I still don't want my room to smell of the stuff. Plus, it's a lovely spring night (at last), and of all simple pleasures, there's little that can beat a cool breeze on your face. I've missed being able to do this without my lips turning blue. The nicotine is just an added bonus.
But, here's the thing. Someone really should tell the girl across and to the right that those lovely translucent curtains aren't thick enough for her to strip down completely with the light on. And someone should tell the girl across and to the left that her curtains aren't completely closed.
Somehow in the process of growing up I missed learning about basic rules of tact and etiquette. Sure, I can handle meeting and interacting with people on a semi-regular basis, but all the accoutrements that go along with meeting and interacting with people, I seem to have missed out on. Is there some subspace transmission that I'm not wired for? I never quite know when I'm supposed to shake hands with people, for instance. The New Yorker dance of hugs and cheek-kisses still feels completely alien to me, and I'm always worried I'm a) hugging too long/short, b) kissing in the wrong place on the cheek (there's little more disconcerting than a kiss too close to your ear. There's something alien about the kissing sound echoing down your ear canal), or c) kissing/not kissing the wrong person. Throw in my Norwegian stoicism and reserve, and I come off fundamentally confused for both hellos and goodbyes.
But that's okay. I'm comforted by the fact that no one seems to understand any but the most basic rules of etiquette. For instance, what type of conversation is required in an elevator? I tend to try to talk to people in elevators, especially at work, because you wind up seeing the same people in there once or twice a week. You might as well cultivate a relationship for them. But sometimes you get worn out, and people get on, and you might nod a hello or not even acknowledge them. It's complicated stuff. And I'm always weirded out by people who get into an elevator with me, ride for awhile without saying anything, and then say "goodbye" as they're getting off. What, you couldn't speak to me until you were sure you could escape?
Or, when someone holds a door for you, you say "thank you." That much is a given. But what if it's a double door, and they hold the second one for you, as well as the first. Do you say thank you both times? Or is it enough just to say it the first time? What if it's a long hallway, with doors at both end? Is there a time or distance limit before you should thank someone again?
Double doors also pose a problem for a guy holding a door for a lady. There are ways to position yourself so you can hold both doors for her, but in doing so, you almost guarantee that you'll be partially blocking the first doorway just so you can get to the second.
Going down to the subway: does priority belong to the people who are getting off the subway and trying to get out of the way, or to those people who might miss their trains? I tend to think the latter, but everyone getting off seems to think the former.
Just about the only piece of etiquette I have down proper is urinal selection. Never take the middle one, unless you're absolutely forced to. Don't talk to anyone, and don't whistle.
Work is the Curse of the Drinking Class
This week, I've felt an ineffable feeling of angst, of nameless dread, of weltschmertz, while at work. I don't think it's precisely tied with anything having to do with work, though it very well could be. There could be the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head, and I'm just not aware of it on any conscious level. Or it could just time for a vacation. I wonder how hard it would be to get pneumonia again...
I mentioned this ineffable angst to one of my favorite co-workers--and I have a bunch: I may not precisely love my job, but I love most of the people I work with--and she said that it could just be, "that you're working a dead-end job and you feel your life is going nowhere. I know that's what's doing it for me." She walked off before I could sputter a response, but really, there's nothing more than can be said about that.
If Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll can do it, why can't I?
I've decided we need a new word. "Deceit" is the state of being deceitful, so I've decided that "faceit" is the state of being facetious. Since facetious happens to be my normal mode, this should be a very useful word to use around me.
Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone
It feels like everyone I like is leaving, or preparing to leave me. Some for other jobs, some for other states, others for no discernible reason whatsoever.
Those who remain don't really like me. If they liked me, they would be leaving me. Because that's what people who like me do.
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.
Happy Poetry Month
And finally, a little poem for you--the source of my post title, after all (which makes it two e.e. cummings' titled poems in a row). This poem will seem much more creepy if you've ever read "It."
"in Just-" by e.e. cummings.
in Just- spring when the world is mud- luscious the little lame balloonman
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come running from marbles and piracies and it's spring
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer old balloonman whistles far and wee and bettyandisbel come dancing