Amy Tries Again

Getting rude.
July 31, 2012, 5:41 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

I have noticed something.  I am often quite rude to those I hold dear, but painfully polite to strangers.  I think there’s something wrong with this picture.  Well, half wrong, perhaps.  I don’t really have any burning desire to stop teasing my friends or impersonating my mother to her face.  I enjoy punctuating my sentences with profanity in their company.  I will happily bare my teeth in order to ask if I’ve collected any bits of sushi where I shouldn’t have.  Every significant other I’ve ever had has had to endure me shrieking with glee and running off to collect a lamp in order to better see the blackheads he’s reluctantly agreed to let me squeeze.

As long as I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings or causing anyone nausea, I’m fine with all of these things.  You see, generally speaking, if I’m being disgusting and/or openly cruel towards you, it probably means I like you.  Yeah, I’m complex. The thing that bothers me – a lot – is how different I am towards people I’ve never seen before and may never see again.  Courtesy is a fine thing, and I am glad to be someone who thanks the bus driver.  What worries me is the fact that I have to thank the bus driver because I am terrified that if I don’t they will think I am not a nice person.  I’m very concerned about random strangers thinking I’m a nice person.

This mild paranoia is quite inconvenient because it’s difficult to turn off.  It leads to me staying chirpy and telling elaborate lies when a creepy taxi driver asks if I live alone and if I like to have parties.  It keeps me smiling nicely at the rude shop assistant who won’t get off her phone for long enough for me to pay for my caffeinated beverage.  It has trapped me, nodding, next to foul-smelling crazy people on the train.  I can’t get past an annoying street salesperson without apologising profusely for not having time to listen to their faux-friendly pitch, or, at the very least, shooting them a gosh-I’m-just-in-such-a-hurry! grimace.  Why on earth do I care what these people think?

I do turn on these strangers very occasionally, but only ever in a disgruntled consumer sort of way.  I’m good at very polite, very angry letters of complaint.  Why, though, do I have to wait until a company Does Me Wrong before I can assert myself?  If I can do that, why can’t I just tell the hairdresser I don’t really feel like a chat today, thanks?

No more.  I’m on a mission: I’m going to try being rude.  Not very rude.  Just a bit rude.  I’m going to try to stop trying so hard to impress the people who aren’t trying to impress me, and I’m not going to go out of my way to ensure the comfort of those who are making me feel uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, friends: could somebody please teach me to burp the alphabet?


3 Comments so far
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I found I had the same dilemma, and therefore cultivated a general “don’t talk to me vibe” with a general preoccupied mein and non committal grunts. Then you find it just becomes your regular disposition, which isn’t good. In short be careful what you wish for, its a double edged sword.

But it was glorious not to have to talk to hairdressers.

Comment by Red

Once, I was trying to voice-memo my friend’s sneeze (her sneezes are ridiculous sounding) and accidentally didn’t turn off the iPhone recorder. When I listened back later, I was amazed at how my voice changed. Laughing at her, to her face, my voice was a deep baritone. Ten seconds later, when I went to order a lemonade, my voice went up eight octaves and I turned into a meek little girl.

Up until this point I had honestly believed that I treated everyone the same, so it was surprising to discover I had this desperate-love-me voice I would put on for strangers. I still can’t get rid of it.

Comment by Kate

I’m exactly the same. My voice on the phone at work in particular makes me want to vomit. I chirp. I don’t like to think of myself as a chirper, but it’s the truth.

I’m still working on not changing depending on who I’m talking to. Actually, that’s not true – it’s practical and necessary to present different sides of yourself depending on the situation. I’m working on making it voluntary.

Comment by Amy

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