Thursday, December 7, 2017

Microstory 729: Credos, Convention Four: Cordiality

The boy lifted his foot from the canister, fearful of letting it touch the ground, but ultimately finding it to be safe. The brilliant sparkle of the magic water remained intact. He placed his other foot in the fourth canister, and watched the story. There was another boy, on a far away world , who was different than most others. Everyone around him complained that he was too quiet, as if their lives were somehow not complete without his spoken words. They urged him to be more active, to participate in conversations. But these conversations did not interest him, and he could not understand how anyone appreciated them. For they were not real conversations. They did not stimulate the mind, nor solve a problem, nor help someone get through a terrible situation. They were, quite literally, meaningless. They would speak of the weather, as if any of them had any valuable insight into the matter. They would talk of...well, mostly the weather. They apparently had few other ideas for conversation. They were uncomfortable with silence, and would have to fill it with something, be it ever prosaic.
The boy was completely fine with silence, and was content to sit in it without saying a single word. He would mostly only speak when spoken to, and would keep his responses short and concise. His family would tell him, “that the people around you are engaging in small talk, does not mean they do not have more important thoughts as well, or that they are somehow intellectually stunted.” But he did not believe this. How could anyone knowingly appear to be so trivial? That is a paradox. Anyone aware of this in themselves would immediately alter their behavior. But if they could do that, they were not truly trivial in the first place, were they? No, that they choose to say nothing while never ceasing is irrational, but not in a good way. And the boy was not going to give into the pressure to fit in. But then the boy grew up, and like many others, had to go and seek gainful employment. Before anyone would hire him, they first had to speak with him in an interview, and though he was fully qualified, he would always fail this task. They wanted to ask him about his experience and education, yes, but they also wanted to be dumb and unproductive. That was somehow enjoyable to them. And so the young man sought advice from his parents once more. “I am sorry that I did not listen to you. I did not learn how to fit in. I don’t understand small talk, and now I fear it is too late. What am I to say to these people who are responsible for my livelihood?” And his family smiled upon him and said simply, “fake it”. And so he did, and he found this to be easy, for it turns out the people really were as mindless as he believed. It was easy to trick them. All he had to do...was be cordial, and they would think he genuinely cared about their thoughts on the weather.

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