13 May 2010

Call the Lie

This whole week, I've been pretty down. Those normal exchanges of "Hey, how are you? I'm fine, thanks!" have been pretty awful to carry out, because, well, I haven't been fine and there's no chance I will be fine in the near future. It led me to post something I'd never consider posting under normal circumstances in my Buzz account - "Problematic needs someone to call the lie."

That's not actually the point of this post, by the way. But I'm getting there.

See, even though I wasn't feeling very good about things, I still went on trying to pretend that I was more or less okay. I kept lying and saying I was 'okay'. Why? Because I knew no one wanted to know what was really bothering me. News about my Uncle, they could handle, but not really about me. Which works, I guess. It wasn't anything I really wanted to talk about.

Some days, I get fed up with our society. It's just so very shallow. People don't speak what they think, or when they do, it's in a way no one wants to hear. There's all sorts of polite posturing - "Why thank you, you look lovely yourself" and "No thank you, I'm dieting" fill in the place of real conversations, real discussions, real interests.

Some days, that's what's wrong with the world. We're too busy to stop, too busy to think, too busy to care. How many times have I passed a friend I know is down and walked by without calling their lie? When have I cared enough to how they are, really?  It's a troubling thought, that our society is exchanging niceties for actual connections. As long as you pay your social dues, say your please and thank yous, and don't hang out at the snack table all evening, it doesn't matter if you're lonely, if you're sad, if you're jubilant - just don't bother us about it.

We're becoming increasingly private. A central part of Western philosophy is freedom, which goes hand in hand with forming few, intimate connections. But what is happening today isn't just "being private" - it's "being quiet." We don't want to hear your problems, we don't want to know they exist. We want you to act exactly as you always do, where there is no emotional highs or lows. It all becomes balanced in the monotony of "I'm fine, and you?"

We're too busy. Other people's worries bother us, distract us, take up too much time. And that's why we need to be calling other people' lies. Lives without connections are not worth living - no one can exist by themselves. And the social desert we enforce now is doing just that - isolating us by putting up walls of courtesy to others. I can't tell you how I really am because that would take up too much of your valuable time. So we just glide past, smiling, nodding, and drowning on the inside.

It's sobering, isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting that SBM. It is so true. There was one person in the NCFCA who always used to ask me how I was and wouldn't let me off the hook until i told them how i actually was doing. It was definitely nice to know that someone actually cared about how I was doing. I totally agree with you. :)