On the way home tonight after (another) late night at work, I found myself in the office van with a co-worker who happens to enjoy making conversation with me about literature. He’s not so much a “co-worker” as he is another employee of the same media house. Anyways, as he adds the polite “ji” after my name he asks if I’ve read this book or this novel and what my opinion of so-and-so author is.
I nod or smile and answer his queries without exaggerated enthusiasm but with enough of a response to keep the conversation going just a couple of statements further.
And then, inevitably, comes the cue for polite laughter.The phase I didn’t hear properly that I didn’t bother asking to be repeated. The half joke that wasn’t really funny but that I still had to acknowledge in some way or another. Well practiced polite mirth rolled out of my throat and while I heard the fakeness echo in my head, I inwardly laughed and question the need for polite laughter.
Why do we do it? Why do we submit to social niceties? Why do we feel the need to indulge the other half of our conversation in false approval of their comments?
While these thoughts float in my head, something someone once said crosses my mind… you only fake orgasms with guys you care about. Hmmmm. But I don’t like the guy, not that I dislike him either.
Maybe we do it just to be nice. Maybe we do it because it’s always been done. Maybe no one actually cares. Maybe even if we don’t care about the other person we care about the situation. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks about these things.
It probably doesn’t matter.
I just find all of it so painfully fake.