Note : They/their is singular in the writeup and to preserve identity
“Good morning! How ARE you?” That came out more cheery than I expected, staring at our names pasted on two adjacent rectangles on the screen.
“Not too good. Things aren’t so well in the family.” What? They’re American. Aren’t they supposed to know the Good morning-I’m good-How about you dance?
“Oh I’m sorry. I hope everything is fine.” Never intrusive. Always optimistic. Clearly ignoring the ill detail that was just shared aka would they like to modify their response? I’d nailed it by the book.
Don’t judge me, it wasn’t my book.
“Hmm I don’t think so.” – never thought I’d see a day of such candor and yet here we were. Why wasn’t B joining the call and why was I held hostage to this slight overshare, a definite inconvenience in the first world?
“It’s been a while, I don’t think it’ll be fine soon”. Don’t get me wrong, I did feel sorry for this person. But that was overpowered by the time they said my faulty audio sounded like I was in a tin can, and such other misplaced passive-aggressiveness.
It’s always them behind the bad attitude and never your internet. That shit hasn’t changed since high school.
I was reminded then of that introvert who took a job in Netherlands and moved there to avoid small talk. While here the small talk was elevated to medium talk, it felt good and uncomfortable at the same time, and I hoped I’d never subjected anyone to such discomfort.
Who was I kidding?
And whose book is it anyway?