Blank Morning...

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.


Michael said...

Once again you make a point I can't argue with. I also hate being bullied into smiling especially when I have no idea that I am being percieved as unhappy. Then someone says "Come on, smile! It's not that bad." No, it wasn't that until you told me to smile and now it is in fact, that bad. Thanks a lot.

Glad to read one of your hilarious posts again--nice to have you back!

gnightgirl said...

Yay, what you said! I'm not a "Good Morning" person either. No one changes their greeting to "Good afternoon" when the clock strikes noon, do they?

I once worked next to a cheerful, "good morning" person...you know the type that gets up at 4 a.m., so they have a feeling of accomplishment by the time you get to work at 8:05. If we didn't respond to her "good morning" enthusastically enough, she'd sing out "aw, c'mon, you can do better than that." It made me want to leap over the cubicle wall and rip out her throat.

but that' just me.

Anonymous said...

OMG I am so happy to find other people who feel the same way I do. I can't stand saying good morning. I can't stand the fact that people expect me to act a certain way because they do. Just because you want to say good morning doesn't mean that I want to say good morning back. I mean dayum! We spend more time at work than we do with our own family so why do people act like they just saw you for the first time with that good morning crap? Don't get me wrong I am not some cynical person with some huge chip on my shoulder. In fact, I have a great sense of humor and am the source of most people's entertainment so I think I am getting the lion's share of good mornings. I too am not a morning person and would prefer to make the ritual optional where people are not allowed to get offended if I don't say good morning. I too used to sit next to this woman who would be so freakin over joyed to say good morning that she dayum near tore the cubicle wall down one morning! There are even times when someone forces a good morning out of me when I am trying to discuss the business at hand...like saying good morning changes anything? I also agree with the point about good morning being so phony. Oh well, thanks for letting me vent cause most people think I am rude when I discuss this!

Anita Jacobson said...

I understand. I wish everyone knew about Energy Profiling. Carol Tuttle discovered this after years of researching, and to me makes the most sense of anything I've ever heard! We are all made up of the 4 types of energy: Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon. But we all are lead by one. Each of these energy types have movement, and Type 4's are lead by Carbon, and are the slowest movement of the 4. Type 4's are generally people who are not going to be the bouncy bubbly type (Type 1's) that are the ones that will say Good Morning with a big smile on their face and very energetic. Obviously there is a whole lot more to Energy Profiling than what I'm saying here, but from all that I've learned about it, I have a much better understanding of why people are the way they are, and now I am able to to interact with people better when I know what energy type they are. If interested in finding out more about Energy Profiling, check out Carol Tuttle's work! She's awesome, and has changed my life with this information!

Anonymous said...

Michael, gnight, and anon said it better, funnier and more succinctly than the blogger. I never say 'Good Morning, good afternoon, good evening." It is always forced and phony by the d-bags who always say it. If someone says it to me I will reply with, a wave, a nod, a faint smile or a "hey," but sometimes I'm thinking "F-you. What makes you think I chose to get up with all you chickens and cows.