At the risk of coming across like an anti-social prick, I hate saying “Good Morning.” Not because I don’t welcome the day and bless the Lord/Buddah/Allah/The Exaulted Grand Tkirta of Algon 5 for giving me one more 24 hour span on this Earth. Not because I don’t wish my fellow man/woman/transgendered person good tidings and hopes for an tragedy-free day.
I just hate saying “Good Morning.”
I don’t really know why, which makes it even more puzzling, even to myself. I’m going to chalk it up to me not being a morning person, which I’m not. I don’t really get going till around 1:30 or so, so wishing me a good morning is pretty much a wasted effort.
But more and more people are saying it, from the woman standing at the bus stop who I have never seen before in my life, to the guy driving the bus who should be less enthusiastic about the morning than I am considering all of the freaks he has to deal with on a daily basis, from the woman behind the counter at the coffee shop (though her AM perkiness might be latte-related), to the guy who sells me a newspaper from his tiny men’s room stall-sized stand, to the security guard on my floor at work, to the two (TWO!) receptionists at the front desk.
And to each one I mumble a barely audible “morning”. Not even a full “Good Morning”. Just “morning”, as if I was only acknowledging the fact that the sun was, indeed, in the sky and any further assessment of the quality of the day was not my concern.
I know they can hear it in my voice. Barely enunciating. Not looking at them. Flat monotone. With the exception of a man scheduled to face a firing squad at dawn, it’s probably the least believable “good morning” on human record.
Like I said, I don’t know why I hate saying it. I guess it could be that I don’t feel that most of the people, even the really cheery ones, don’t really give a fuck. I mean, if I were to stop and actually assess the day with them, would they really want to listen?
Them: “Good morning.”
Me: “Is it? Is it really? What, exactly is good about it? And don’t give me the ‘It’s good because you’re alive’ crap, because there’s some guy living in a mud puddle in the Sudan who probably doesn’t think it’s so great to be alive. So what’s so good about it, huh? Huh? Hey, where’re you going? Come back here…”
The other possible reason is that I don’t know what the phrase really means. Good morning. Good. Morning. Are they just generically saying the morning is good, like some Amish farmer? (“Ah, the morning is good, Jebediah.” Yes, Hezekiah, ‘tis a good morning for a barn raising.”). Is it short-hand for “Have a good morning”, as if it were an order, which no one could reliably fulfill because of all of the out-of-their control factors that go into determining whether the morning will be good or not? (“Hey, you!… Have a good morning.” “OK, I’ll try, but you need to know that it’s way outta my control, so if I can’t, hey…”). If they mean, “I hope you have a good morning”, then SAY that! That’s like walking up to a couple of newlyweds and just saying, “Very happy” instead of “I hope you two will be very happy.” I mean, what are you really telling me when you say, “Good Morning” to me?
But I guess the biggest reason I would rather not bother with saying “good morning” is I have the sneaking suspicion that most, if not all, of the people saying in really don’t mean it. The vast majority of the people saying it to me are people who pretty much HAVE to say it as a part of their job dealing with the public. Store clerks. Coffee counter personnel. Receptionists. Bus drivers. And whether they’re saying it with a twinkle in their voice or saying it as if they were programmed to do so like Robbie The Robot, I can tell. At least 90 percent of the time, it’s no more significant than a car horn on the street.
So maybe we should retire it for a while. Just reduce the morning greeting ritual to a nod or something. Just acknowledging that, yeah, you’re a person, I’m a person, we’re here on this planet together so let’s just try not to kill each other today, OK? Now, what kind of coffee did you want.
I used to take public transportation to high school. Every weekday morning for four years. And nearly every one of those days, I would get on the bus and seated right by the first seat on the bus, across from the driver, was this old guy in a dated, but clean suit. From what I could gather, he was a minister of some sort. At least he was always carrying a bible. He had white hair under his hat, a white moustache, a tiny white soul patch under his bottom lik and a big ass smile almost constantly plastered to his face. And he would say “good morning” to each and every person who got on the bus. Old women. Old men. Little kids. Their mothers. Their older brothers and sisters. Everyone. And me. Every day, for most of my four year high school career, from the dreariest rain-soaked morning to the most testicle-shrinkingly cold December AMs, he’d be there, bellowing “Good morning” to everyone who stepped inside that bus, in a baritone that belied his advanced age (60s? 70s?). He was relentless, not giving up until you responded in kind, whether you were in the mood or not. “C’mon, now, I said ‘good morning’. Put that smile on your face. It’s a blessed day. Alright, there it is. See, that wasn’t so hard.”
I’m sure he thought that saying “good morning” has some sort of spiritually uplifting qualities, that it could brighten the darkest day, lift the spirits of the most downtrodden. But it didn’t. For me, it made the already undesirable chore of spending five hours in the hormone hell that was high school even more annoying. And to start nearly every day with a smiling reminder that it, in fact, was NOT going to be good morning was soon imprinted on my soul.
Yup, I blame him.