“I know people are frustrated by the anonymity they face in modern society, but I love it!”

“Why do you love it?” My mother asks.

“Well, people leave you alone and you don’t have to waste your time with pleasantries.”

“I like it when people say ‘hello’ to me; they’re being friendly.”

“I don’t know about that. I feel like they’re interrupting my day or they’re trying to let me know they’re there.”

“Give me a for instance.”

“Well… I go to the library almost every day. There’s always somebody outside trying to convert me to their religion.”

“I don’t think they’re allowed to do that. All they can say is ‘hello’.”

“They do a lot more than that. Yesterday, I had my hands full of books and the lady asked me if I needed help.”

“Well, that was her being nice.”

“I don’t think so. I think she was trying to get noticed. Like I might read her pamphlets or ask her questions about her religion if she proved she was nice to me. I feel like they are trying to make a statement without making a statement. They’re trying to say, ‘look, we’re good people. If you talk to us, you can become ‘good’ too. Then we’ll all wait outside the library, every single day and hope someone will talk to us so we can share the good news.'”

“Andy, I think you are reading too much into it. They’re just being nice.”

“Well, that’s just what they want you to think. I have half a mind to walk up to them, each and every time I pass a new group and say, ‘I don’t want you to say ‘hello’ to me. I don’t even want you to look at me. Don’t even dare think, that boy is ignoring us because he doesn’t believe what we believe.”

“I think they would think you are crazy.”

“But see… that’s exactly what they want me to think. They want all the sane people, all the readers and thinkers, to think they are the ones with a serious problem.”

“What about Walmart Greeters, Andy? You aren’t bothered by them.”

“That’s true, but that’s also because they do it with lack luster. Greeters at Walmart are honest. It’s a job. They know they should have saved for retirement when they were younger and now, they have to spend their last remaining days at Walmart greeting people. I don’t feel harassed by them. I know where they are coming from.”

“I still think you’re overreacting.”

“Well, maybe you should go to the library every day. Their ‘hellos’ are like Chinese water torture. Each ‘hello’ is like a drip of water on your forehead. I love the library, but now I feel anxious walking towards the entrance. If they say ‘hello’ and I ignore them, they’ll say, ‘What’s wrong with him.’ ‘Well, I can tell you what’s wrong with him, he’s an unbeliever.'”

“God said that we should love our neighbors.”

“Well, I think God wants us to leave our neighbors alone.”

One thought on ““Hello!” Torture

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