how's it going?' Much better, if you adopt my plan
By Jake Williams
December 15, 2006 | Sit down kind sir, its time to
have a chat. We aren't related, nor are we friends per
se. We are but mere acquaintances. Other than possibly
our respective first names, the only thing we know for
sure is that we recognize one another when, like today,
our paths cross.
Earlier this morning I was walking east on the sidewalk
between the TSC and the Eccles Science Learning Center
whereas you were walking west. You were in a hurry to
catch the 8th East shuttle and I was late for my biology
lecture. In hindsight, one of us should have seen the
other coming and pretended not to notice, but that's
not what happened is it?
"Hey Jake, how's it going?"
"I'm OK. What's new?"
"Not much. You?"
"Not much. Well, talk to you later."
As I walked away from our awkward encounter it occurred
to me, as it has likely occurred to you, that we didn't
say anything meaningful during our 15 second conversation.
In fact, all we did was delay one another. I'm not sure
how many times each day I have a similar encounter,
but conservatively I'll say five. Is this really necessary?
I've come to call encounters like ours "the most common
conversation in the English language," which is dismal
considering each awkward exchange leads to no significant
communication. It feels like it will never end. Doesn't
Well the buck stops here, kind sir. I will no longer
stand idly by. We are in dire need of a way to break
this cycle, and I have devised such a solution. The
next time I have no intention of having a meaningful
chat and we pass each others' left shoulders, I'm going
to look you dead in the eye and say, "I know you."
This may surprise you. You may even break stride to
figure out what just happened, but if you do you'll
be alone on that TSC sidewalk. I'll be five seconds
closer to learning about deoxyribonucleic acid.
After gathering yourself I'm sure you'll see the genius
of my plan. "I know you" is precisely what we are trying
to convey when we have our 15 second talk. I'm confident
you'll come to appreciate this new method of acknowledgment,
and each subsequent time I announce my knowing you,
all I expect in response is a smile and "I know you
Thank you for improving our camaraderie. I really
appreciate your help in removing the most common conversation
in the English language from our interactions. Someday
soon we'll have a meaningful conversation, but not today.
I'm running a little late.