Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Nice Price

I've always been skeptical of those probing psychological quizzes used to shallowly diagnose personalities (I mean, who doesn't consider themselves caring and kind? ... and, who doesn't see albino guinnea pigs in pink laederhosen and Hendrix headbands playing badminton in 90% of inkblots these days?)

But, if a bored psych intern threatened to psycho-babble me to sleep if I didn't make a list of adjectives that best describe me, 'friendly' and 'outgoing' would probably make the top 15 (nestled, of course, among 'introspective', 'shy', 'creatively aberrational (read slightly demented)', and 'excessively silly (as in, a well-phrased bodilly function joke can excite my wet-my-pants giggle reflex just as easilly as a geniusly-timed sarcastic and intelligent remark can'...)).

But, I, like, way digress...

I speak now of 'friendly' and 'outgoing' qualities because I had always considered these to be great attributes worthy of more wide-spread demonstration among members of the human race (and among certain members of the animal and insect kingdoms as well-- I mean, why can't wasps be more like their social butterfly counterparts, and grizzlies more like their friendly Yogi bear brothers?).

But, now I'm starting to wonder if the qualities of kindness and amicability are not a tad bit over-rated. In fact, I'm starting to think that these characteristics are highly suspicious.

It's just that I'm not used to so much 'niceness'.
Unlike L.A., Seattle seems to be boiling with benevolence and extreme cordiality. Everyone seems to be a little nicer, a little more open, and a little less suffering-from-a-thorny-barbeque-skewer-up-their-ass.

Half of the time it's really wonderful to be talked to as a human being by strangers, engaged in light-hearted conversation at the bus stop, and treated with a bit of respect and humanity.
The other half of the time, though, I find myself questioning the motives of such unfettered kindness. Who does this guy think he is, asking about my first pet dog when all I want is a coffee? Why is this lady arbitrarilly asking my boyfriend what color m&m's he likes best? Does she want to bake him some fancy brownies? Or ascertain what color bottons to decorate our effigies with?

I dunno... I suppose I'm joking. I suppose I value openness and friendliness more than I'll admit, and I suppose a little extra random kindness in the world really isn't such a terrifying thing...

But, one thing I'm certain of is that anyone soliciting my feelings on the day's temperature and amount of cloud-cover must be up to something. Most likely they're involved in some super-secret, sociological and meteorological recconnaissance mission aimed at annexing the planet and securing domination over all of our manufactured robots, Hello Kitty dolls and Elvis impersonators...

As usual, people, this is no joke. I don't make this stuff up.


10 comments:

Frustrated Writer said...

way cool, I get to make the first comment! woo hoo!

Friendliness that is sincere is always welcomed, its those patronizing, fake smile, please make a comment soon because I fear my face will freeze in this position bastards I can't stand. I can talk with anyone about anything, trivial or deep, as long as we both are enjoying the chat. Give me someone condescending and tacky...well, they deserve the thorny barbecue skewer between the buttocks...

good post, funny and fresh... so hows the weather up there?

Dunzo said...

Ants and wasps are very closely related. The deadliest ant in the world is practically a wasp minus wings. Think about the similarities of their hives and group order. Once you do it's not surprising........so why didn't I already know???

smalllittlefightstarter said...

Did you use the words "my boyfriend" in this post?

Nico said...

smalllittlefightstarter's comment makes me think of Cian... You can just sense the mocking incredulity in the tone.

Hope you're having a good time in Seattle, and don't tell me that year away has been enough to make you forget all the strange kind things done for you by total strangers while here? Or is it just the belief that we Westerners must not be sincere in our kindness? And I kind of agree with you, with that nagging and niggling underlying suspicion always threatening to burst through in a rainbow of cynicism...

-c said...

frustrated- yeah, forced kindness is always an easy buzz-kill... The weather? Why, it's cloudy, overcast, scent-of-rainy and absolutely beautiful! But, uh... who are you and why do you ask?

dunzo- I've always been intrigued by ant communities. Perhaps if I weren't so scared of wasps, I'd get into studying them too. Now I'll have to go look up the relationship between the two...

smalllittlefighter- I did indeed say "my boyfriend" in this post, and I'll say it again with pride! For anyone who knows me, I understand how this is entirely unbleievable... Cian, is that you?

Nico- I haven't forgotten all the kindness offered me around the world. Something about being in my own country raises my suspicion levels, though. I mean, now I understand more than I want to, so I have the luxery of over-analyzing it all. Plus, I'm telling you- these people are super friendly- you'd almost think they were Canadian or something :)

smalllittlefightstarter said...

and to everyone may they have love. sometimes it is all that is missing.

dingobear said...

Nice post, -c. (Haha, "nice").

Ok, let's be serious for a second here. You'd be surprised, but the only reason some make it through is because of the friendliness of people they least expect.

-c said...

smalllittlefightstarter- if this is you, my Irish friend, don't play cute with me. You reak of ugly sarcasm. Maybe you just need a little dose of the love potion yourself :)

dingobear- I completely agree. I've been the lucky recipient of arbitrary acts of kindness, that have made my day, my year, and even reinstilled my sometimes faltering hope in humanity. I find, it's just more fun to play cynical than doting when blogging to entertain myself...

Rabin said...

:)

-c said...

cheers, rabin!
thanks for stopping in!