Your rules do not apply here, sweetheart.
Ya gotta love March, especially in DC. The weather is absolutely insane since Spring and Winter start duking it out and generally Spring wins, but only gets to stick around for like 1 week before Summer starts. But more annoyingly, March in DC brings tourists. Not the fun kind of tourists like your friends wanting to see DC or a retired couple able to do their own thing except maybe navigate the metro system, oh no. We’re talking tourists en masse and they’re everywhere! Blocking the metro farecard machines and turnstiles.. walking all slow and spread out 4 people across on the sidewalks.. taking up space in your local lunchtime places having no idea what they want to eat and usually unable to afford it anyway.
This morning we did our usual office run to Starbucks, it wasn’t too cold and the rain was manageable. When we got there, there were about 4 or 5 people waiting in a single line and they seemed to all know each other. Younger women in sweatshirts/hoodies and backpacks. This location has two registers and therefore usually has two lines most times of the day, so I invited my co-worker to step ahead of me to the second and unoccupied register, I also held back before stepping up right behind her just in case one of the women wanted to go before me. Since they were there first, it seemed only fair. No one took the bait, so I stepped ahead to order and while my co-worker’s finishing up her order one of the sweatshirt girls turns to me and says, “You know there was one line here, not two.” I told her that as there are two registers, there are usually two lines and I invited her to go ahead of me if she liked. She declined with a shake of the head saying again, “Well there was just one line here.” — I’m not really sure how to respond to that so I stayed in my line and my co-worker behind me is just grinning like a demon at the whole situation and I muttered to him, “Welcome to the big city, kiddo.”
I think we all have rules of engagement for our interactions in the world that can differ from the socio-culturally accepted rules. Unfortunately we’re not Milton-Bradley board games, so people don’t know what our rules are unless we explicitly tell them. And often we don’t do that because we are either self-centered enough to think that people should just know or we’re self-conscious enough to realize that people would be cheesed off by being told how they must interact with us… a third option, I guess, is that one is a monarch and thereby knows that it’s someone else’s job to inform people how they have to interact with you.
Simply put, we’re not all mind-readers. It’s impossible to know what’s going on with someone at all times and then try to anticipate that person’s needs while at the same time doing it with every other person you may need to deal with. Nor should it be necessary because people have the ability to communicate their needs, feelings and desires — we’re not babies.
It seems like we’ve advanced in technology, yet regressed in quality when it comes to communication. Stepping into the WABAC Machine for a sec… friends and I used to use hand signals, over-emoted lip reading, letter codes, passed notes – also sometimes in code, mix-tapes, passed notebooks, phone calls, rudimentary e-mail, network pings now up to real e-mail, instant messages, text messages and one of the 50/50 good or bad methods of keeping in touch — blogs. The messages have gotten shorter (with the exception of journals) and they say less. I used to spend at least two periods (class periods, don’t be nasty) writing a note to someone, folding it up in a complicated manner and passing it directly or indirectly. Passing indirectly required an even more special fold so we could tell if it had been tampered with. But they were paragraphs long stuff about whatever was on our minds. I can’t recall the last time I got a long e-mail from someone, and I’ve had to let people know when they IM me that they don’t have to break up their thoughts by sentence, they’re not going to lose my attention by sending a screenful of information and it’s much more attractive than feeling like you’re IM’ing with E. E. Cummings.
I understand the need, ease and convenience of short messages, or “didn’t you read my blog/LJ?” but my point, assuming there is one, is that often our friends like hearing the sound of our own voice (even electronically) as much as we do, it’s just better when it’s directed at them instead of sent down the tubes for them to pick up and interpret at their convenience. Like Jill Scott’s song ‘Talk to Me,’ don’t expect someone to have any idea what’s going on with you unless you tell them.
On a much less heavy note, I’m currently playing MySpace headhunting. I logged in about an hour ago and I’m just seeing how many ‘bots try to add me as a friend. I’m up to 8 so far, unfortunately they’re all fem-bots… and this guy — HAWT!