Thursday, December 01, 2005

Doof Polite

Lazy post. Wrote this for the mag for tomorow. Appologies about the layout - I'd do it differently here but it has to fit into a set column space.

Acid Tongue

Why are we so hopelessly shackled by civility? Kicking back at an outdoor festival recently, sipping a drink in the shade of our awning, unwinding between acts, a fellow doofer wanders by and waves. The Dreaded One (she has fluro dreads) and I wave back. He says hello. We say hello back. He comes over and stands in the shade of the awning. He appears to recognise The Dreaded One but says he can’t remember her name, so we introduce ourselves and have the standard doofer conversation: seen you at other parties, when did you arrive etc. All very civil. Uninvited, he sits down. This is okay; it’s hot. Finishing our drinks, we have no choice but to offer him one. He accepts. This is okay because it’s the kind of thing you do and what goes around comes around and surely, I think, he and The Dreaded One have chatted before, thus the friendliness. Conversation’s a bit thin, but that’s okay because not every conversation has to be a work of art. Soon it’s time for another drink, and I don’t know, I just feel we’ve reached the end of this encounter. It seems I’m wrong. The guy picks up his cup to take a sip, but his cup is empty. He smiles and shrugs as he places the cup back on the ground. What else can we do but offer him another drink? This is more or less cool because it’s just a drink after all and I’m sure he would do the same for us... but then he takes his shoes off and stretches out and makes himself just that biiiit too much at home. “Who the fuck is this guy?” I manage to ask with some nifty eyebrow semaphores. “I’m fucked if I know,” The Dreaded One replies in the same language, “never actually spoken to him before.” “What are you two doing?” the random asks with furrowed brow. “We’re talking,” I tell him with an explanatory arch of the left eyebrow, “...with our eyebrows. Cool huh?” Within no time at all, Joe Random settles right the fuck in and when our friends return to camp they assume he’s an odd little friend of ours we’ve never mentioned before, and they are polite and he settles in even more and a lot more eyebrow talking ensues.

My civility stretches to not intruding, picking up signals, not taking advantage of people and giving people their space. I’m going to explain all of this to that intrusive little fucker next time I see him... actually, I bet I don’t. I bet I smile politely, adjust the fit of my shackles and lower my eyebrows in perplexed frown.



Anonymous said...

You’re nice. While I’m a whole hearted supporter of sharing drinks (good karma and all), I’m not so tolerant of the company of random freeloaders who don’t offer interesting conversation, humour, or at a pinch, something nice to look at. Maybe that sounds a bit callous but I never look back fondly on memories of whiling away a summer afternoon trying to extricate myself from a socially challenged hippy wearing eau de haven’t washed for 6 months or a drunken Eurovision fan with overactive saliva glands. Open minded I am, captive audience I ain’t.

Besides, I always find it amusing to walk away from such a situation when you can leave your hapless mate on their own with the intruder. It’s quite easy to disappear if you are the first to take the plunge, but a lot harder to disengage when you are the last man standing (or sitting on your esky as the case may be). Maintain visual distance so you can enjoy the evil glares your friend will invariably shoot your way. Ah, gags all round.

Quick said...

Whilst I appreciate the bastard humour in bailing and leaving the random with unsuspecting friends, I couldn't actually do it... no wait - in a certain mood I could do it.

This particular guy got up when The Dreaded One and I said we were going to go to the toilet. He came with us, and when we approached a more crowded area, I said , "Right, we're going over this way. See you around." I said it with finality because by that time I had had enough. He said, "Okay, but I've left my back pack back at your camp site, so I'll come back later to get it."

I think the vibe we gave off for the rest of the weekend put him off.