Misanthropy

The last two days have been absolute heaven as far as my morning walks are concerned. Not only has the weather been perfect, but I’ve changed my workout shirt. My regular one is waiting patiently in the laundry bin, so I’ve had to dig another one out of my t-shirt drawer. The one I selected was given to me by a buddy who does t-shirt design: it’s an eye-catching yellow with “BITE ME” prominently displayed across the boobs.

The reason I love this is because now the other exercisers leave me alone. I don’t understand what it is about someone speed-walking alone with headphones on that seems to scream “talk to me,” but that’s usually what happens. From a simple “hello” to a more involved “hey, how are you?” these other walkers/joggers/baby-stroller-pushers completely put aside the concept (immortalized by Rick Springfield) of “don’t talk to strangers” and feel it is their duty to make sure everyone else on that path is “doing OK.” Surely they must realize that even if I wanted to answer, by the point words could come out of my mouth, we’ve already passed each other and are, like two trains in a story problem, rapidly heading away from each other. To me, this intrusion into my personal bubble is just another part of the interpersonal buttinskyism that would have been considered rude in years gone by, but is now the norm in our society. But now… oh, now… with this shirt… I can see the smile start to appear on their faces as they approach (even the ones who don’t speak to you will always want to exchange a smile, because after all, we’re all walking on this sidewalk together!), but then as they get closer, their eyes dart down to the shirt. And the smile goes away. Hooray! It warms the cockles of this misanthrope’s heart.

I don’t think anyone has ever used the term “buttinskyism” before.

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