Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Would That I Could...



"Good-bye. I am leaving because I am bored."

George Saunders


Be honest. Don’t you wish you had the nerve to say that at certain times? Or, better yet, that it was a socially acceptable thing to say?

The “good-bye” bit adds a nice touch. Kind of softens the blow. (Maybe.)

Think of all the places you might like to use such an escape clause – meetings, mandatory social functions, parties, listening to speeches or having been introduced (by a friend!) to an excruciatingly boring person…

And since I’m already clutching a one way ticket to hell (prior sins), I’ll even add sermons to the list. When I was a churchgoer, it pained me to hear the minister begin his sermon with the words, “This morning I will be covering four points….” So, you listen attentively to the first point, sort of drift off during the second and - BAM – are suddenly alert and dismayed when you hear him say, “Now on to my third point.” We’re only on the third point?!! No more drifting. Now you’re antsy sitting on that pew.

Anyway, back to my original point. Yes, I was recently (as in, yesterday) caught in a boring conversation. I remained polite throughout. But if such an expression were socially acceptable (did not hurt anyone’s feelings) I would have used it.

It occurs to me as I write that people might feel the same way when stuck in conversation with me - might wish to take their leave of me. Ouch.

At least I’m not at the point where I bore myself – it would be awfully difficult to say good-bye and leave under those circumstances. So far, me, myself and I find me to be excellent company.



For those of you who might be curious as to the origins of the word good-bye (as I was) here’s a brief history from Bartleby.com

“No doubt more than one reader has wondered exactly how goodbye is derived from the phrase “God be with you.” To understand this, it is helpful to see earlier forms of the expression, such as God be wy you, god b'w'y, godbwye, god buy' ye, and good-b'wy. The first word of the expression is now good and not God, for good replaced God by analogy with such expressions as good day, perhaps after people no longer had a clear idea of the original sense of the expression. A letter of 1573 written by Gabriel Harvey contains the first recorded use of goodbye: “To requite your gallonde [gallon] of godbwyes, I regive you a pottle of howdyes,” recalling another contraction that is still used.”


Love that! A pottle of howdyes!

16 comments:

Travis Erwin said...

I have a buddy at work that likes to look long-winded people in the eye ans asks in a perfect monotone, "Is this going to be a long story."

Trish said...

Being trapped in a boring conversation makes me panic!

Love that "is this going to be a long story" from Travis . . . and "good-bye. I am leaving because I am bored" from George Saunders. Ha ha ha The only person I have the nerve to say that too is my hub . . . he knows I am a bad audience for long stories, now if only I could get a little button to pin on my shirt every day that says so so the rest of the world knows too - it would do wonders for my social anxiety.

sherry lee said...

I'm always amazed that those who border on the boring don't notice the glazed look that comes over the listeners eyes as they begin composing a list of chores or groceries in their head while trying to remain mentally alert!!

If you could carry off what George Saunders would say you'd never have to worry about being bored by that person again!!

However, you could try saying "I regive you a pottle of howdyes", smile and wave and leave...they'd never know what hit 'em!!

megan said...

I read somewhere that by the time someone says, 'To make a long story short...', it's too late. And it is.
Sadly, you and I spoke on the phone yesterday - am I the source of your boredom?! sob...

Cid said...

The very boring husband of a friend of mine is a "close talker" leaning in to talk like he is telling you a joke but never getting to the punchline.

Beth said...

travis:
I don't even have to guts to do that.

trish:
Simply paste on a (fake) alert and interested face and drift off - as I did during sermons.
No panic! It's not worth it!

sherry:
Never thought of using the "howdyes" line - might spare their feelings.
So what if they think I'm looney? ;)

megan:
It wasn't you! Anyway, we use the line, "Sorry, I wasn't listening..." to indicate distraction - boredom???

cid:
Double (negative) whammy.

Aunt Reeny's After Thoughts said...

I too feel uncomfortable when trapped in a boring coversation. I tend to have a hard time because my facial expressions do not lie, my eyes will start to dart all over the place in search of a way out. I only wish that social etiquette would deem it ok to directly tell someone when they are being a bore.

oreneta said...

I do know some people who do just that, walk away. I have to confess it is pretty arrogant when actually pulled off....though some people ARE so desperately boring.

Sornie said...

If nobody else finds me interesting, m inner monologue can at least entertain me. Think of that next time you find yourself stuck in some mundane conversation. SUch as reading my comment.

Maggie May said...

Travis comment made me laugh!

Great post...social mores are funny but mostly necessary to all get along, if someone said 'bye i'm bored' to me I'd probably feel slapped, even if I knew I had been boring!

:)

Beth said...

reeny:
I wonder why the other person doesn't catch on to such facial expressions? Too self-absorbed?

oreneta:
I've seen people do that, too - or just drift away. (Not from me!)

sornie:
Not mundane at all! And thank god for our inner monologues.

maggie may:
I don't think most boring people actually know they're boring. Which could mean that I am one of them...

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

I think I bore myself on a regular basis. I'm in trouble. And I'm having trouble working on that meme. Like you, I'm trying to determine some inconsequential things about me since I think everything is so relevant. ha! ha! Just kidding. I love how it's making me think about my favorite subject - me!

rebecca said...

Hm! Did not know the origin of the word, "goodbye." Learnt something today. My brother has a terrific expression, but which he only uses with family members: "Okay...stopped listening!" It's perfect and we all laugh especially because of his comedic execution of it. Now, if we could only say that to others outside our circle of trust!

Beth said...

bodhi chicklet:
That meme is a bit of a challenge - particularly coming up with some good lies.
And you couldn't possibly bore yourself - not with that art of yours.

rebecca:
Love that expression. Alas, yes, for use only with family and friends.

Charlotta-love said...

Face to face boring conversations are bad. If I'm on the phone, at least I can multi task while they blab on and on and on.

Oh, and I'll be back tomorrow. Happy April Fools.

Gary said...

You're not boring.

HEre's a quote I like:

"I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."

- Groucho Marx