Conversation I overheard this morning from 2 women dropping their kids off at the local Yeshiva:
W1: Hey, how are you?
W2: Good. How are you?
W1: I’m good. What’s going on?
W2: Nothing much. What’s going on with you?
W1: Oh, not too much. What are you up to?
W2: Just dropping the kids off. How about you?
W1: Oh you know, the same. How are things?
I’m sure W2 responded in kind and proceeded to ask how things were with W1 but I had a train to catch so I’ll never know for sure. I couldn’t help but to think that these 2 women had likely repeated this ritual hundreds of times before. They pretty much ask each other the same question in 3 or 4 different ways until one of them has to leave. If there is anything remotely distinct about the weather, the “Weather Question” invariably will make its way in there at some point.
Exchanges like the one above make me very uncomfortable. I’d just as soon nod and give a simple “hello” than exchange 2 minutes of pointless social niceties just to fill the silence. On the other hand, in certain situations the silence can be equally uncomfortable. I work in an office and often find myself in this position: I’m waiting for the elevator alone. Someone that I see everyday but don’t really “know” begins waiting for the elevator with me. I begin to hope that a) 1 or more persons will come and wait for the elevator with us or b) someone will be on the elevator when the door opens and will be taking the ride up/down with us. I think all of this because in my mind, 3 silent people on an elevator is much less awkward than 2 silent people that kinda know each other by face but don’t talk to each other.
It’s all really quite trivial. Perhaps the amount of thought I put into these things is due to some flaw in my social conditioning. I dunno. Hearing that conversation between those 2 women this morning just made me keenly aware of it. Plus, it’s pretty cold in New York these days (it being, surprise, Winter and all) so there are an abundance of “Weather Questions” floating about. Just thought I’d share.
Y’know what I mean?