Monday, November 10, 2008

The Cluelessness that Binds Us

I'm sure we've all pondered the clueless people in our lives. Whether it be a chance run-in at the grocery store, or persons whom we've shared a great deal of our lives with, there are plenty of clueless people on this planet. Personally, I've always found the cluelessness of those with whom I've shared my life with - be it just vast quantities of time sitting silently next to a coworker, or revealing my innermost thoughts to a trusted soul - to be the most hurtful. I'm certainly no stranger to cluelessness at it's greatest. I can recount stories of severe cluelessness even recently which have drug on and on for months at a time - not by any choice of my own, but by association. This is another annoying trend among the clueless - somehow it seems hard to escape them. Once you've severed all ties with them, they suddenly become best friends with your best friend and your left dealing with them from a distance yet again.

But while cluelssness amongst those whom we know personally is the most hurtful, there's another level of cluelessness amongst complete strangers which is probably more annoying and dumbfounding than personally insulting. I had a couple of encounters of this sort recently which I felt were noteworthy. Just a few days ago while shopping, for reasons I won't even go into, I suddenly had an urgent need to get to a bathroom. I tore down the aisles with a moderately panicked feeling setting in as I hunted for the bathroom. All the way to the back of the large wareheouse type store I scurried, expecting to locate the bathroom there. Not seeing it, I quickly asked the nearest individual I saw if she per chance knew where the bathroom in this store was. "Nope, sorry. This is probably the only store I don't know where the bathroom is. Honestly, I think I've been to every bathroom in every store with my kids, but this is the only one I haven't had to locate yet. . . " She continued on and on as I nodded and feigned a chuckle while hastily rushing off; I could hear her voice continuing on as I approached the end of the aisle and continued moving. While I was fortunate enough to make it to the bathroom in time, it did strike me as just incredibly bizarre that a stranger whom I asked a generic question would feel compelled to give me such a lengthy answer entailing her family's entire public restroom usage history; surely she could see that I hadn't stopped to chat but kept moving with conviction. Perplexing and odd.

A couple weeks ago I had another such encounter which totally dumbfounded me. I was sick and had been having these horrid coughing spells which kept me up all night and also seemed to strike without warning, regardless of where I was at or what I was doing. I had just completed my grocery shopping for the week at Wal-Mart (sick or not, we need food in the house!), and was feeling good about having survived the whole trip with Kyla and Jimmy in towe while being quite nearly on my deathbed with what I trully thought was whooping cough, when it started - the slight little tickle in my throat which then progressed to full blown hacking and choking and snotting everywhere (lovely, really). Fortunately, I was at the register and the attendant was just getting ready to hand me my receipt. "You have a nice day, Ma'm," the women commented whilst waving to Kyla - completely ignoring the tears streaming down my face and the sweat that was now developing on my forehead from literally hacking up a lung. I attempted a fake smile and stumbled off toward the bathroom where my spaz attack could continue with a bit more privacy. After coughing there for another 5 to 10 minutes it began to let up some, and I took my opportunity to exit the store. Of course, once I got to the doors, I needed to find the receipt lest anyone think I had stolen the huge pack of paper towels under my cart. As I hunted for the receipt in my purse, the coughing resumed it's more violent nature. "OK, I see the paper towels on here. . .And, I see that you're getting pumpkins! Let me give you a few tips on easy pumpkin carving and usage. . . " the bubbly attendant at the door began. She informed me of the best way to cut the pumpkin and how to cook the seeds and how to make the pumpkins last the longest and on and on. . All the while, I am literally choking. Tears are quickly rolling down my face from coughing so hard, and the sweating has again begun. I tried to nod and express appreciation with a hint of disinterest in order to encourage the woman to zip it and just let me leave, but it was to no avail - her standard speech for everyone leaving the store with pumpkins didn't seem in the least bit abbreviated. Finally it ended "You have a great day, Ma'm!". I nodded and waved, unable to even speak between the chokes. Trully amazing.

I'd hope I wouldn't be the one to annoy or hurt others with my cluelessness, but I know that I must at times do these very things that so perplex me. Regardless, I also empathize with those of us who have also shared on the receiving end of others' cluelessness. It's hurtful, and it's annoying. Yet despite it negative impact, I'd like to think that our generalized cluelessness is one thing that unites us together as human beings. So, cheers to all of us and cluelessness!

1 comment:

Mom said...

Cheers to your gracious last remark!! We've been in many a circumstance where I left saying, "What was that all about? I'm clueless?" I've always attributed it to lack of brain power, mostly on my part!!