Sunday, November 19, 2006

 

Smile and Nod, Smile and Nod....

Freshman year of high school I had a study period with one of my good friends. She's naturally a low-talker, and we were also not supposed to talk in study hall, so that lowered her voice to .5 decibels. Approximately.

I felt like I had to say "sorry...what?" one too many times, so occasionally I'd do the ole' "smile and nod" trick. Occasionally with a little giggle or something thrown in for good measure. It seemed to work well.

One morning she wasn't at study, or in for the whole day. The following day, I asked her where she was...and she replied that she had been at her grandmother's funeral. I was saddened, and asked her why she hadn't told me.

She replied that she had told me, in study hall a few days previous, but all I had done was smile and sorta laugh.

Last night I went to a new-to-me bar in Adams Morgan. It was great, with live music, eclectic decor, and photographs of African tribes adorning the walls. The loud music, the loud talking, cigarette smoke (smoke-free DC in 2007! YES!!!), and incense got to be a bit much at one point, so I stood outside awkwardly on the patio for a few minutes, as is my style.

I got to chatting with the bouncer, and learned that he's from Brazil. I asked him the usual obnoxious questions "When did you move here? Do you like it? Why did you come here?" and he replied that he married an American girl, and then they came here.

And then the band started up again. And it got kinda loud. And his accent was awfully thick. So I reverted to the "smile and nod" move that had so burned me in the past, and even said "What a happy ending - or, rather, what a good beginning!" for good measure.

And then something he said came in loud and clear. "Yeah, we got married really young. I was 23, and she was 21."

Um, to me that sounds like a not-so-happy ending. It sounds like there was an entire part of the story that may or may have not included a divorce that I completely missed.

I can only hope that he thought I was drunk. I wasn't, because I hadn't had anything to drink other than Pepsi...but one can hope.

So, basically, if I have smiled and nodded to anyone's bad news, I apologize. Please let me know, so that I can respond to your misfortune with the appropriate sympathy, and not with a vacant giggle.

Comments:
i totally do this too!

it's horrible, i know. but i find myself doing it a lot, particularly when asking for directions.

which doesn't really make sense, because one would think that i'd pay attention in those types of situations [and they do happen a lot], but half the time, i ask for directions, and the person starts giving me these elaborate instructions that may as well be for building a cruise ship.

about halfway through, my mind begins to wander as i think, "yeah, i should be writing this down" but i feel too invested to interrupt just so i can get a pen and paper.

but in my defense, i'm not a freaking robot. people who give directions should offer a disclaimer. sheesh.
 
Meg, pretty much every conversation we've had I've just been smiling and nodding.
 
Only you would find my diabetes funny.
 
Min: I almost smiled and nodded you yesterday, but I resisted. And look how well it turned out for us!

bub: so you've told me. Ah well.

tk: okay, so I already told Tony this...but his comment really weirded me out, since the girl whose grandmother had died had diabetes. I was like "how did you know she had diabetes? And did I laugh at it before?!"
 
Ouch... I think we're all guilty of it. We might try to not do it, but I'm sure we've all done it. :(
 
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