Humans are creatures of habit, or so it’s said. Or so I just said, anyway. We seem to operate based on rituals, routines, habits – large and small, but daily and constant. I don’t think they’re necessarily a bad thing, but I believe people should at least be aware that they’re doing it.
“Good morning!” – It’s a cheerful greeting in the morning. Every morning. Every. Morning. After a while, this really grates on me. I know it’s meant cheerfully enough, but when it comes from my co-workers, whom I see every morning…whom I see more than I see my family…who just saw me like 16 hours ago when I went home? I don’t know, but hearing a chipper “good morning” that sounds like the person hasn’t seen me in ages just grinds on me.
What’s more, I’m surprised when people are genuinely hurt that I can’t work up the appropriate enthusiasm at seeing them again, for the umpteenth day in a row. I find it appropriate to say “hi” as if I just walked away from them because…well…I did.
“What did you get for lunch?” – And then the ask-ee regales the ask-er with the tale of their lunch selection. There’s breakdown of price, and condiments ordered; there’s a Zagat-level critique of their entrée; there’s a position statement issued on their usual preference for chicken (or snail or whatever) but rationalizing their current choice of turkey (or frog or whatever).
Again, it’s not the details of the conversation that boggle me, but the repetition of it, daily, ad infinitum. Lunch simply isn’t that interesting, not when it’s in a box at your desk. Lunch with a celebrity, lunch with a hot date, lunch at the best restaurant in town, lunch ruined by a car wreck – all of these lunches are interesting. A dissertation on strawberry versus grape jam on your PBJ…is not.
“So long, have a good night, drive carefully!” – Yeah, I’m just driving home, and I’m going to see you again in 15 hours. I drive the same route home as I have for the last 365 consecutive days. I’m not boarding a tramp steamer for the British Colonies, or moving away. I’m driving a green Ford a total of 22 miles. I don’t need a St. Christopher medal, nor do you need to worry about never seeing me again. In fact, I just spent the last 8 hours hearing your Pandora through the cubicle wall and you just spent the last 8 hours smelling my farts. I’d think you’d be overjoyed at my departure. I really don’t understand the big deal about the end of the workday.
So there they are, some of those little rituals that show up throughout a normal day. I don’t understand ‘em.