must-do rituals of the proper goodbye
Friday, November 25 2005
I'm not entirely sure what it was that kept fluid from circulating in my solar panel today. It must have been the air bubbles, because there was no way that the pure antifreeze in those pipes could have frozen.
I set the pump to run before Gretchen and I headed off to a brunch at David and Penny's house, though I can't say for certain that anything circulated in the nearly three hours that we were there.
As the sun started skimming the treetops and the clock neared 3pm, I told Gretchen that we had to head home so I could turn off the pump. It's unfortunate that I don't yet have a working robot to handle such things for me, freeing me to do things that no robot can yet do.
Even after that one moment of assertiveness changed the trajectory of events, I was still beholden to the snail's pace of a proper goodbye. I always detest the goodbye process, but this time I found it especially vexing. Despite the impatience I took pains to display, absolutely none of the goodbye ritual was truncated. So there I stood in my coat and shoes while goofy smalltalk spun endlessly out of ritualistic generosity that comes with dividing up uneaten brunch foods. Such smalltalk inevitably leads to asides, more stories, and more goofy smalltalk. I may have already hugged the hostess and had a strictly heterosexual handshake with the host, but I was by no means out of there so long as there was one last yarn to spin. And all the while the sun dropped lower and lower in the sky. I know, I was overreacting and it wouldn't have been terrible had the sun actually set by the time we got home. But I'm sure I'm not the first person who wanted to junk absolutely all of the must-do rituals of the proper goodbye. It's not like we're never going to see each other again.
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