Sunday, July 4, 2010
I think I hate people. At least I hate too many to consider myself a decent human. What's the acceptable 'like to hate' ratio anyway? I need some metrics. Isn't it like 10:1 or something? That can't be right. It's not okay to hate 10% of my planet-mates. 20:1? 50:1? Somebody tell me what's allowed!
It's not that I hate everyone, just certain flavors of people. It's like ice cream. You could chill with Mocha Chip ice cream all day, but you'd rather stab yourself with a spoon than share a booth with Corn Ice Cream. (It's a favorite in China, and I once watched an American friend vomit after one bite of his Corn Popsicle.)
Some people taste like Corn Ice Cream. I feel guilty for cringing when they approach, but I don't know how to adjust that primary emotion. Maybe you've met them? The traditional Corn Ice Cream person for me is the kind that doesn't read social cues. Like the standard cross-your-arms, step-towards-the-door, look-at-your-watch, play-with-your-keys, cough-loudly, pick-your-nose, take-off-your-pants, run-away, scream-wildly, cues that everyone uses.
I don't know if I'm a magnet for socially awkward people or if I simply lack the gonads to tell someone that I'm not interested in listening to them ramble for twenty minutes. Whatever the reason, my blood often boils as I paste on a smile, allow my eyes to glaze over, and buckle up for the long haul.
It drives me crazy because I feel like a hostage. I'm trapped by social etiquette. I can't simply walk away while they're speaking. (Although I fantasize about it all the time). But I'm indignant because I believe they're committing an equivalent offense by disrespecting my time and refusing to play by unwritten rules.
In my experience spiritual people are the worst offenders. They're convinced that anything God related trumps conversational conventions and deserves any length of airtime. The problem is that they're floating away on some ethereal plane, entirely unaware of time and space. Inevitably, awkward nose-to-eyeball conversations ensue, where halitosis reigns supreme and clocks may as well not exist.
It's especially blood curdling when there's a condescending element to their tone. They're talking incessantly while sizing up your spirituality. They regale you with personal stories about devotions, healings, worship concerts, and celibacy. It's endless. They've got rulers out and are playing the 'whose is bigger' game with holiness. Naturally, they win.
Fortunately for me, my current level of apathy makes it so I don't care. It's pretty fantastic! I've never tried apathy before, but I highly recommend it for at least a month or two. It's terribly indulgent. Like eating too much ice cream. And inevitably you realize that it's an unacceptably selfish way to live over the long haul. Then you get back to purpose driven living and Rick Warren mails you an autographed copy of his book. And a blueprint to become the lead pastor of a mega-church. He's good like that. He can just feel it in the air. Signs the book. Mails the book. Done and done.
Not really. I have never received an autographed book from Rick Warren. I've also never met him so I don't know if he's a close-talker or conversation-monopolizer. He seems nice enough. Maybe he could write something about not hating people? The People Driven Life. I'd snap up that book in a second. No, I lied. I'd wait for someone to buy it for me.