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Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Monday, June 20, 2005
 
Why am I so awkward around people who are feeling miserable? I try not to be. I try to be the guy that you can turn to when you have troubles. Someone who will listen to you, sympathize with you, give you sage advice (as opposed to oregano advice, which is usually no good...though it tastes quite nice).

This morning, however, was a different story. I was walking over to the fax machine, anticipating the steady rhythm of the fax papers being scanned (CHUNG CHUNG SHIIIIIIK, CHUNG CHUNG SHIIIIIIK. I could sing "We Will Rock You" to it). And I was looking forward to being greeted by a co-worker of mine, who we will call "Princess Ezenwa" for purposes of anonymity. Princess Ezenwa is someone with whom I share very short-lived but enthuasiasic conversations. The following is the typical exchange:

PRINCESS EZENWA: Hey, Jeremy!
JEREMY: Well hi! How's it going?
PRINCESS EZENWA: Fabulous! You?
JEREMY: Downright awesome!
PRINCESS EZENWA: Wonderful!

Granted, no revelations or insight are extracted from these brief conversations, but since I live a life filled with commas, parantheses and ellipses, it's nice to have a conversation fueled by exclamation marks. Also, Princess Ezenwa has a nice smile and a congenial nature, which in an energy-draining office is something that you cannot get enough of.

But this morning, as I proceeded to the facsimile transporter (as I would call it if I were brainier), I noticed that Princess Ezenwa was sitting in front of her monitor, the sound of crying emanating from her. Her regional manager was sitting next to her, rubbing her back in a "there there" style gesture. Those are usually pretty sure signs that something is wrong.

So, what did I do? Did I walk over and ask what's wrong? Did I try to hear her problems out and offer advice? Did I even fax what I wanted to fax? No. I simply looked at the paper, gave a look like I forgot something ("Oh, that...thing that needs to be...done...I should do that...now."), and retreated back to my desk.

I feel like a jerk. I can't even help out Princess Ezenwa, whose cheerfulness helps me out from day to day, the one time when she's feeling down. What kind of a man am I? Why do I shy away from misery? I was recently told that the fact that I haven't cried in a few years was sad and kind of pathetic. Is that true? Do I shut out sadness from my life?

It is not that I deny that sad things exist. I know about a lot of the death, torture, war, famine, greed that is out in the world. I just choose not to let it get me down. Is that so wrong? After all, if you are trying to help humanity, don't you need a little hope and optimism that everything will turn out okay?

Of course, if you're trying to help humanity, you also shouldn't pretend that there's something wrong with the paper that you're going to fax. Maybe I'm just a really sympathetic jerk. I'll go with that.

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