Bye Bye Bye

The song with that title has caught my ear a few times, and from what I hear, it's pretty popular right now. I'm not really referring to the song here, but you can draw a parallel if it seems appropriate.

This has been one of those bittersweet weeks. Some things have went well, some things just okay, and some things have been rather tragic for many. For me personally, I have completed a few homework assignments, looked for a summer job, and heard a good report just this afternoon about an exam score. (Yeah! Praise God!)

But it is a growing observation of mine, not really related to any one person or any specific incident, that people put forth little effort to get to know me. There are exceptions (there are always exceptions), but for the most part, I go about my life hearing goodbyes, and even trying to pre-empt them, so I don't seem to be weighing down on their lives and being a burden and wasting their precious time.

I first noticed this on Instant Messenger, and I still notice it there the most. I have a tendency (call me strange), to enjoy talking to people when I see them log on. But (especially for those on AOL, not just on AIM), I feel like my random "hi"s are probably just annoying to them. I've tried hard to reciprocate this idea in my mind, to see if I react the same way. But (especially recently) I've realized that I like it when people IM me, even if they're interrupting something else I'm doing. On the other hand, since people IM me -- well, almost never -- I'm not in the same situation as someone who gets 10 or 20 IMs every time they log on.

Because of the premonition that everyone is wanting to get rid of me, I try to refrain from talking to people too much, and when I do initiate a conversation, I usually try not to talk to people for too long, and I've worked hard at tearing myself away, rather than making them say they have better things to do. Really, I don't often have all that much new to say to people anyway...it's just the talking that seems important. Still, I get tired of people telling me they have to go after talking for maybe three minutes. It's to be expected, and surely they do have better things to do than to talk with me about nothing, but it's still a sinking feeling.

The idea of initiation causes me to cringe. Traditionally, guys are supposed to initiate in a lot of areas. Well, fine. I don't really like initiation, but I could get used to it. But what good does initiation do if it's always just being a pain to the receiver, and often ends in rejection of some sort? Would not my better half tell me to not initiate if it only causes problems? At times, I'd like to initiate a lot more than I do, just to test people and see if they would ever catch on that I enjoy talking with them -- but that's a bad attitude to have, I think, to test people like that.

Lately, I've observed these sorts of things happen a lot in "real life" as well as in the pseudo-world of IM. It seems as though people tend to run away from conversation. When was the last time I sat down and had a long-ish conversation with anyone (again, with a few exceptions)? I sense a trend of "entropy" with the people around me. I'd like to talk to people, but I don't really have much to say, and even when I do, I say it and it's over...so much for conversation.

I have done my best to specifically *not care* about this sort of stuff, and I think I am learning to be more objective about it than I used to be, or just more used to it. But with every goodbye, with every disappointment, people seem one step further away. I will press on; I will "make it." But I can't help thinking it would be a whole lot more fun if people were a bit more talkative once in a while.


Here's the vocabulary word for the day: kvetch. It's Yiddish for "complainer." If you think I'm kvetching, well, I suppose I am. If you'd like to kvetch at me and return the favor, you can write me at joeclark@iastate.edu.

Have a nice day, one and all. "Bye." :-)

Mar 24, 2000