Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Wish I Knew How to Quit You...

I have a problem saying goodbye.

I don't mean that in the melodramatic "I can't bear to be without you" sense.  I mean, literally, I have a problem being the first person to say "goodbye" in a conversation.  So when the time comes to end a phone call, I usually lead with something along the lines of "Well, it was great hearing from you," or "I'll chat with you soon."  The other person takes the cue and says, "Goodbye."  I respond with "Goodbye," and the conversation comes to a graceful close.

It's a subconscious thing.  Nobody's ever called me on it, and I've never really noticed it before, because most of my friends and family manage to take up the slack without even realizing it.  I don't think there's anything deep rooted or particularly traumatic involved.  It's not like goodbyes killed my family or molested me as a child or anything.  I just don't feel comfortable saying goodbye until I'm 100% sure the other person is on board.

If I had to get psychoanalytical about it, I might tie it back to my grandmother, Mamaw, who was incredibly passive-aggressive and wielded guilt like a blunt weapon.  She never called me or my sister, but would always berate us for not calling her more.  And when we did call, we'd have to endure a good quarter of an hour of listening to "It just breaks Mamaw's heart that you kids don't call more," and "Mamaw just gets so lonesome for you."  (Mamaw talked about herself in the third person a lot.)  I can't speak for my sister, but I'd run out of things to talk about pretty quick, and the conversation would start lulling and become filled with more awkward silence than a Glenn Beck Book Club meeting.  And so I'd start trying to wrap things up, and Mamaw would head me off at the pass:  "Mamaw wishes you could talk to her longer, but I know you kids have things to do."  And so, it became standard operating procedure to start the goodbye process early on and sort of steer the conversation that way.  And of course, I'd have to be the one to say it, and Mamaw would drag it on for another ten minutes or so, and then I'd have to say it again.  Sometimes I'd have to say goodbye five or six times to make it stick.

So, yeah...

Anyway, I guess I was never all that aware of my aversion to goodbye until the other day, when I was talking to my friend Silver on the phone.  He and I both work from our homes, so we meet for lunch several times a week just to get out of the house during the day and be sociable.  We were making our lunch plans for the next day, and as the conversation came to an end, I suddenly realized he has the exact same hangup about goodbye that I do!

Basically, all of our phone conversations end with the two of us playing goodbye chicken.

Me:  Well, okay.
Silver:  All right, that sounds great.  I'll see you then.
Me:  Yeah, see you then.
Silver:  Okay.
Me:  Have a great day.
Silver:  Thanks.  You do the same.
Me:  Oh, I'll try.  Chat with you later.
Silver:  Sounds good.  Thanks for calling.
Me:  You bet!  See you at lunch tomorrow.
Silver:  Looking forward to it.  See you then!

And so on, and so on, until one of us finally caves and says goodbye.  We've been doing this for as long as I've known him (15 years or so), but I only just realized it the other day.  Now that I'm aware of the problem, I'm taking steps to address the issue.  However, I'd say my initial efforts have met with limited success at best:

Me:  Hello?
Mom:  Hey, Chris.  How're...
Me:  GOODBYE!
Mom:  What?
Me:  Sorry.  What were you saying?
Mom:  I was just calling to see...
Me:  GOODBYE!

But I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually.  And in the meantime, I'll just have to keep counting on my family and friends to bear the burden.

So anyway, thanks for reading.  Have a great day.  I'll see you next time I post.  Looking forward to it.  Chat with you later.  Give my love to the family.  Take it easy.  Respect it, don't neglect it.  Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.  Vaya con carne, mi amoebas.  Thanks again for reading.  Hope you enjoyed it.  See you later, alligator.  After a while, crocodile.  See you soon, baboon.  Be sweet, parakeet.  Take care, polar bear.  We'll have to do this again real soon.  Be safe.

Goodbye.

3 comments:

mr. schprock said...

What a great thing to see that you're back. I might even dust off my old blog.

Irb said...

Mr. Schprock! So happy to see you knocking around on the ol' blogosphere!

Sadly, my blogging renaissance wasn't quite as long-lived as I would have liked. Road to hell, and all that...

If you're a part of that young, hep social media thing, come find me on the Facebooks!

https://www.facebook.com/irbslice

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