I was reading about Russian culture recently and apparently they don’t share our value for incessant niceties. They don’t appreciate the nice smiles, head nods, or small talk that Americans take part in everyday. So, why do we do it?
In the past week I have said some form of greeting to different people on four separate occasions, with zero response. Nothing, not even a head nod. I obviously keep walking muttering shit to myself like a crazy person. I went out of my way to say hi to these people and I get zero response. This brings me back to the possibility that I look like an asshole. This has been proven time and time again, but when you say hi to someone usually they could give some kind of response. Even if its just a grunt, “morning”, or “nice day today.”
This week of being ignored made me really think about Russia and why they may not share our belief in constant smiling and hellos. Apparently, because of the untrustworthy nature of their country and constant government trickery, smiling is thought to show dishonesty. Russian people are also more likely to associate smiling with stupidity. That one, I get. The lack of small talk and unnecessary conversation is associated with the need for honesty among the citizens. Makes sense. When your government is shady as fuck, you need some type of consistency and honesty. But fuck, what government isn’t being shady lately.
So, why do we say hello to everyone we see? Everyday, I have to say hello to every other idiot walking their dog in this complex. I have to talk to every shmuck in the dog park. For what reason? Especially when all I hear about is their great job and life. It’s sickening. I’m not a very talkative person with strangers. I’m more of a listener, but it amazes me how long people can talk about themselves. I actually don’t mind this part because usually a person will tell some ridiculous life story and in turn, I’ll write it on here. It also means I don’t have to talk about myself. We’re not really allowed to talk about anything anymore though. So, all we have left is the weather, and even that we fight about.
I mentioned to someone the other day that I would love to live in South Carolina or somewhere down south because of the weather, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about being in such a old school part of the south. The person then said to me, “well, let’s not get into politics.” Let’s not get into politics? I’m just saying I don’t think I could live somewhere where people live their lives focused on Friday night High School Football and church on Sundays. It just seems like a different lifestyle to me.
For the next couple weeks, I’m only saying hi to people if they initiate the conversation with me. I’m no longer going out of my way to be pleasant. Why do I even do it? To satisfy some need to please everyone I think. I’m not really a first impression type of guy when it comes to being friends with people. I’m more of an acquired taste, like a raw oyster. Some people try it over and over again and eventually it grows on them or they try it once and vomit and it puts a bad taste in their mouth for the rest of their living days. I’m not going to try to be nice anymore, you get what you get people and you don’t get upset.