Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?







Saturday, August 8, 2009

SMALL TOWN BUSINESS... Part TWO

"You're SOooooo secretive, Robert."
"I'm not secretive. Some things are none of your damned business. That's called privacy."

There is a big misconception about what constitutes the difference between privacy and secrecy.

'Secrecy' denotes that someone's actions are wrongful, and that there's a reason they are keeping them private. It's a loaded word designed to make other people self-conscious or defensive enough to share what the offensively nosy person wanted to know in the first place. (For no other reason than they felt it was their place to be entitled to your personal goings on.) Quit trying to incite or compel me with your Bubba psychology.

People love to insinuate themselves into your life. You'll notice that typically they aren't as forthcoming about the same information regarding themselves. (But even if they were, it's still none of their damned business. We really need a refresher course in boundaries in this country.)

At the library, people who won't speak to me will get up from their chairs to go and look at my computer screen and flagrantly read my personal business when I step away. People brazenly stare into my grocery cart and do an item by item assessment of what I am purchasing (No, not the cashier, dumb ass.) I have caught people leaning into my car window to see what I have in it. People at the post office stop when I am packaging items at the counter and ask me what I'm doing and where I'm sending it to!

They stare at me for MINUTES while I conduct business. They stop their conversation and intently listen to mine when I am eating dinner at the next table; people have actually turned their heads and leaned closer to hear better. They peek into my wallet when I open it at the store. They inquire about me (and my business) with people they don't realize are friends of mine. Repeat after me; "It is none of my concern."

The old standby excuse is "They're just being friendly!"
BULLSHIT!

Let's have some class about class........
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Here's a refresher course in What Friendly IS;

* "Hi! How are you today?" Generic. Rhetorical. Compassionate but detached.

* "Hi, I don't think we've met, so LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF! My name is ______!"
Quid pro quo. Or, for y'all...tit for tat. Fairness. Balanced.

* "The weather sure is hot and humid today." You don't even need to think about this one; the weather is never anything but hot and humid here. Easy, cheesy, small talk letting another human being know you acknowledge their existence on this crazy mud ball.

* "Nice to see you." or "You take care." Simple, general kindly shows of affection. No one is worried about inherent sincerity or lack thereof.



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Here's an example (or 50) of what 'Friendly' is NOT:

* "Who are YOU ?!?"
* "Who are you related to?"
* "WHERE DO YOU LIVE?" (No, really! Generally followed by...Is it yours? On WHAT street and next to whom do you live? Which direction does your front door face? Do your rent or own? Who used to own that? How many people live there with you? Do you have animals? Are the windows locked? When do you leave during the day? How far is that? I still don't know; can you draw me a map?)
* "What do you do?"
* "How long have you lived here?"
* "How much did that cost?"
* "Are you married?"

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And............
For those so inclined, here are some ready-to-share answers designed to stop Nosy Posies in their tracks!

* Who am I? - "I'm another person on the planet." ......... "Jesus Christ. Boy, are YOU in for it!"

* Who your people is? -"Negroes, mostly. But some gypsies and Jews, too."..........."Some crazy sum-bitches from the woods."............."Some folks with the same last name."............"Didn't Daddy tell ya? We're kinfolk!"........"I'm still checkin'; you free for a blood test?"

* Where do you live? - "In town."........ "In a house." ............."Oh, I'm not having a party."..........."No thanks, I don't need any yard work done."........."I don't need any more neighbors."..........."It's not for sale, so don't worry."........."I used to stay with your Daddy, but now I like your Momma's cooking a whole lot better."
* What do you do? - "Serial killer; still wanna come over?"....."Professional hitman; never a shortage of people need killin'."........."Bum; can I borrow a $ 20?"........."Sex worker; Say, did I get a hug from you?" .........."Anything that moves."

* How long have you lived here? - "Long enough to know better.".........."Too damned long; you're startin' to look good to me!"..........."Not long enough to stop caring."........."What's the diff? You already know you don't like me!"

* How much did that cost? - "Did I ask you that about your wife?"........"Oh, you couldn't afford it."..........."Why? You wanna buy me another one, sweetie?"

* Are ya married? - "Why don't you just ask whether I suck dick or not? That's the REAL question."..........."Doesn't matter; I'm not interested!"............"Is it time for the census again already?"................"No, I'm not married; I enjoy life!"
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A reminder, too, that you are under no obligation to answer a question simply because another person had the audacity (a.k.a., the BALLS) to ask it. And if being clever isn't your thing, just smile politely and ignore them or walk away. They'll get the hint. If they don't and they persist with their intrusions, just turn and say "Hey, FUCK OFF, why don'tcha? It's none of your god damned business! How's that for an answer?"

You can also start to undo your drawers and tell them "All your questions will soon be answered." Or you could ask them to see their purse/wallet so you can better get to know them first. Explain Emily Post and how first we share, then we invite politely for the reciprocation.

Point out that if you need for them to know something, you'll let them know. No, it isn't being secretive and shady. It's called having a life. A full life. A life that doesn't require everyone knowing everything about it. A life that doesn't involve listening in on, speculating about , trailing, investigating, stalking, obsessing about, questioning or harassing other people so's to live vicariously through them or their personal business.

It's the motives that bug me most, I imagine. These people are not interested in getting to know me as a human being. They JUST want to know my personals so they can spread it around town, judge me, speculate and talk shit, and generally be very unproductive and counter-neighborly. I remember Ron Reagan Jr. talking about his frustration with media being much the same relationship; people only had interest in his life details so they could bring down or relate it to his father. No one cared about him as a person. That's just sad.

In a small town, appearances are everything. As long as we act like A Christian in public, the private life can be off the chain. As long as we smile to people's face, stabbing them in the back is just "the way it is." As long as we wave at a passerby, what we say under our breath is inconsequential. Telling someone we'll call, and then leaving them high and dry keeps us feeling cool as a cuke. It's all about avoiding and doing whatever makes things easier in the short term. Forget the duplicitous nature of it all. Forget the insincerity. I guess it's no surprise there's so much closet racism.

Everything takes place behind closed doors, including the truth about how deeply concerned people are with OTHER PEOPLE'S business!!
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And, here's a tremendous concept to boot!
I DON'T WANT TO KNOW YOUR BUSINESS, EITHER!

I don't want nor need to know what the nature of your stomach illness is, nor who in your family is doing what to whom, or how many times your kid has been in jail, nor any other particulars. I don't care! Until we form a relationship and are getting to know each other better, no specifics are required or desired.

Calm down. Leave the drama at Peyton and Melrose Place. Don't allow your boredom to cause you to exaggerate and escalate EVERY LITTLE THING into faux importance that it does not possess. Life is really pretty simple. Somebody looked at you funny? B.F.D. Move on. Don't speed dial your girlfriend and start talking at the top of your lungs about how you're gonna bust a cap or whatever BS you stole off of some bad teenager movie. SHUT UP!

And talking loud on a cel phone in public does NOT make your conversation or your life more interesting; it really makes you out to be rather pathetic. Again; no one cares. Make the call in private, or, since it's about nonsense anyway, just wait until you get home.

Hey, don't hate on the truth. I told you once; If there's something I need you to know, I'll tell you myself!

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