things unsaid

i am interested in this, but perhaps more curious about the forced graciousness that occurs between women friends when enmity has begun its lurk. an excerpt of melissa tandiwe myambo's "deciduous gazettes" (a fiery short story that appears in opening spaces: contemporary african women's writing):

"Why should we put ourselves through the ritual of respectful greetings, feigning pleased surprise and mutual delight at this chance encounter? The words will flow but the body will jerk awkwardly, the pupils oscillate at an extremely high speed and each of us will push our shopping carts in front of us--between us--defensively. So we pretend not to see each other. But it is a more honest sort of pretence."


Lisa said...

Social niceties are a weird thing for me. I am part recluse and part extrovert. I LOVE the people I have a connection with and delight in seeing them and speaking with them, but I am not good with semi-strangers, like neighbors with whom all I share is a common geography. Perhaps it's because my day job is sales and I'm paid to make small talk and to establish rapport with many people I have nothing in common with all day long so it's hard for me to carry that through in my personal life sometimes. I'm always polite, but often somewhat dumb struck in situations where I encounter people I know, but don't know.

Carleen Brice said...

I get along fabulously with people when I have a reason to--which usually means we work together. Or when it comes to book events. You hear many writers complain about signings and I LOVE them. But otherwise, I kind of suck at being with people. And for years I worked in PR! :-)