Goodbye

I would not say I hate goodbyes but I would take a slice of cake over a goodbye any day!
Okay, so I would take a slice of cake over very many things, every day, but you get the point, yeah?

This writing workshop I attended a few weeks back came to an end and the hardest part for me began. I had been in an unpleasant mood all day! I had my ‘try not to touch me, talk to me or even look in my direction’ face on. Trying to convince myself that I really did not care that it was all coming to an end. Setting up my excuse for when I fail at all my goodbyes, because I knew I would. Self-fulfilling prophesy…

Well, everything came to an end with zero fanfare. Yeah, I mean that, zero fanfare. I don’t know what I expected. I was disappointed, so I must have expected something. A ‘THE END’ cake maybe.
“…and that brings us to the end of the Master Class. Thank you all for coming. None of this would have been possible without you.” It ended kinda like that.

I started to pack up my things, thinking about how I have to be somewhere else in less than an hour, calculating the time to get there, inclusive of Nairobi rush hour traffic, telling myself that I really should leave IMMEDIATELY, but knowing I was just further building up my excuse for a quick exit devoid of empty goodbyes.

The guy on my right asked for my number. I gave him my email address instead. As you can imagine, that goodbye went south from there.

I took a different approach with the guy on my left and stated the obvious. In the end, I never even actually said goodbye to him! After discussing the downfalls of endings and goodbyes in great detail, we split up and endeavoured to go forth and conquer goodbyes with everyone else! Later, as I headed to my next commitment, I realised I never got round to getting back to him and proceeding to the actual goodbye, that one goodbye that might have been the successful one.

The girl who was parked in-front of me, hence blocking my exit. Allow me to digress here, why would one create a parking lot designed to operate like a video cassette as opposed to an optical disk? Serial access versus direct access. Remember video cassettes? Remember how if someone had watched a movie on a cassette and now you wanted to watch it, you would have to first rewind to the very start…the struggle! Thankfully, my children will never have to know those struggles. With optical disks, think DVDs, you pop it in and can immediately skip to the exact moment, down to the second, where you were without having to ‘dig’ through everything else. Well, the legacy designers of this here parking lot that I speak of, designed it such that, if you park your car against a certain wall, someone else can come and park right in-front of you, blocking your exit. Surely, always having to blindly search the whole hotel for the owner of the car that is blocking your car…this is no way to live life! Is it?!!

Back to my story, the girl who was parked in-front of me hence blocking my exit. The first person I met, we are both early birds! Also, my favourite person from the workshop. She wouldn’t let me just sneak off so quickly. Goodbyes must not terrify her as much as they do me. Courtesy of her, I did those respectful, necessary goodbyes. The ones it might be rude to leave without saying when, say, you have been hosted by someone.

“Thank you so much for having us! I had a wonderful time and learnt loads!”
“I hope you found what you were looking for. It was very nice to meet you.”
Call it the courtesy goodbye.

Finally, I left.

What I experience with goodbyes can possibly be likened to performance anxiety. I start to think and over-think and before I know it, I cannot think, I just want to disappear. I try to think about what to say, which normally leads me down the long winding lane of the time I have spent with this person, and then I freeze. I freeze because, the time I spent with this person or these people meant something to me. (You must know by now that everything means something to me. Super glue sentimental is me. I get attached to everyone and everything.)

I freeze because I do not know if I can find the words to say what I want to say.

Text book goodbyes leave me heavy with all the things I did not say. All the things I wanted to say, knew I wanted to say but just did not know how to say. All the right words always seem to find me an hour or so after the actual moment is gone.

What about when you do find the words to express yourself, but this person does not share your sentiments? They might be counting down the minutes and seconds to that moment when they don’t have to bear your presence anymore.

My worst kind of goodbye, contacts are swapped and promises to keep in touch are made. Let’s be honest, how many of those people actually get in touch? How many will make the effort to look for an opportunity to meet up? Very few. Maybe talk of future encounters is an escapist route. It makes the goodbye easier, by making it seem a lot less like a goodbye and a lot more like a ‘See you later’!

After goodbyes, we all get back to our lives. We walk out of one scene and right into another. We meet new people, we share a new set of experiences, we begin with ‘Hellos’ and the ‘Goodbyes’ that marked the end of our last scene are often left at the last scene. Out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately this is very much me. I try not to swap contacts because I’m not one for keeping in touch. I can’t seem to help it. It always starts to feel like a chore.

Goodbyes are difficult…for me anyway. I wonder if other people find them easy-breezy, don’t even give them a second thought kinda natural…anyone?

<?php

switch($type_of_goodbye){

case “textbook_goodbye”:

echo “It was a pleasure meeting you! All the best with your future endeavours.”;

break;

case “genuine_goodbye”:

echo “I am not the biggest fan of goodbyes. I am always scared of leaving things unsaid... (Proceed to express your true feelings!)”;

break;

case “empty_promises_goodbye”:

echo “No, I'm not comfortable giving you my phone number. How about an email address? (Unless of course you are willing to put in the work of staying in touch.)”;

break;

default:

echo “It was nice meeting you. Goodbye.”;

}

?>
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