My life did not used to be smooth. It was, if anything, lumpy. Rather than the finely oiled, slick operation that I’m working with today it was more of a stammering, red-faced sequence of awkwardness. Any interaction I had with anyone, or any thing, would end up in an all-consuming haze of self-conscious anxiety. Every hello was a dilemma, every goodbye elicited a death wish.
A simple hello can’t be THAT bad I hear you saying. In response to this ridiculous statement a feel a brief anecdote may clarify just how terribly such a simple affair can go.
Once, whilst marching down the street with my headphones clamped firmly over my ears, I got the sneaking suspicion someone had just wished me a good day. The volume of my music was so engulfing, I couldn’t be certain as to where the noise had come from, or if it had ever even been made. Not wanting to appear rude by ignoring this possible greeting, I began to scan my surroundings for the genesis of the elusive hello. My eyes fell upon the back of a head I was fairly sure I recognized and so, throwing caution to the wind, I decided to attempt to rectify the situation with a casual ‘hello’. But in the process of awkwardly pivoting my torso, whilst maintaining my vigorous walking pace, my back heel caught on the edge of a particularly troublesome cobble.
I felt my hitherto firmly placed feet lift slowly off the ground as the rest of my body began to arch downwards towards the slick, unforgiving cobbles. The graceless tumble coincided perfectly with my much-anticipated salutation so as to dissect it into a two tonal affair. The opening ‘He-‘ being a deep, dare I say it, confident affair; which noticeably contrasted the following ‘-llo’ which hit a freakishly high and feminine tonal range. The result of these two unfortunate incidents was, I’m told, ‘really, really special’: as my strange and piercing ‘HeLLO’ drew every pair of eyes in the vicinity onto me as I so forcefully knocked myself out.
The all-encompassing blackness of unconsciousness eventually rose like a dark mist as my vision returned. My eyes were greeted at first with two slits of the grey sky, which widened into more grey sky, flanked by the peering faces of a number of worried onlookers. One of these concerned faces turned out to be the target of that fateful hello. I had never seen the person before in my life. The only conclusion was that nobody had said hello to me and that I had simply chosen to fall over whilst yelping ‘hello’, knocking myself out in the process.
Following on from this incident I resolved to never acknowledge anyone I ever see in the street ever again, therefore avoiding another situation of this kind. Problem solved.