The Long Goodbye

goodbye-kissToday I said goodbye to my colleagues and left work. I made it as far as the front door of the building before I realised that I had forgotten to place my laptop in the safe (no, don’t ask).

So I returned and locked it up, and walked past my colleageus again without saying anything.

This is allowed, as I had said goodbye only moments earlier so we were allowed to ignore each other on my second exit, as the original goodbye was still “active”.

But I wondered – why IS it slightly embarrassing to say goodbye too quickly after having said it earlier? For how long was my original “goodbye” active? 2 minutes? 5? If I had returned after 20 minutes to collect something would I be required to say it again, or does a “goodbye” cover me for the rest of the evening?

Well I don’t know, and that’s why I’m asking. These things are generally a mystery to me, and I wasn’t around when they handed out the manual. Any tips, people?

/ paddy

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12 thoughts on “The Long Goodbye

  1. But I wondered – why IS it slightly embarrassing to say goodbye too quickly after having said it earlier?

    Because it implicitly suggests that you didn’t mean it the first time? Hell, I dunno.

  2. Hell – I had no idea I was supposed to be embarrassed by saying good-bye twice or thrice in a very short space of time. My reaction is more: Silly me! Forgot to lock away my computer! …. OK everyone, good-bye again!

    I would definitely not not say good-bye a second time (or even a third time)…

  3. Today, I met my Shoemaker in the street, he was walking his dog. We use to talk a lot in the shop but I didn´t know how to behave in the street so I pretended that I got a phonecall. Another strange situation was the bar/pizzeria next to my previous appartment. 4 Iranian guys worked there and some of them was always smoking outside their relative had a tobacoshop next to the busstop. Since I didn´t say hello from the beginning (they were very flirtatious and creepy). After moving there it was strange to start. In the end I always waited until the went into the pizzeria and i took another way if someone was standing outside the tobacoshop which they always did in the summer. And they knew….

    Im not a strange nor a person with social phobia but strange social situation like this and Paddy´s sometimes appear. A freind of mine had a Seinfeldt situation when he took a indirect way so he wouldn´t show his barber since years back that he cuted his hair in a new place.

  4. I just adopt the “silly Sean forgot something” approch and re enter with a fan fare, usually something like “sorry Im late, dam that alarm clock!” or ” I love you guys so much I just couldnt tear myself away”. Then leave with as big a fuss whilst very pointedly bidding all and sundry a fond fare well. Perhaps where I work dictates that acting the ejit (ask Pat about that word) is more acceptable than some other places of work.
    Still related, about 5 years ago I tested this by leaving normally with subdued goodbyes. I then snuck in the back door to which only I have the code and left a further two times before anyone noticed.
    The moral of this yarn: Dont think about it too much cos nobody else does.

  5. RBH: Thanks, you’re very helpful.

    LadyFi: Well when it’s a room full of programmers, these things become important.

    H: Yeah once you start to interact with people in a certain way, it’s hard to break that pattern. Like, for example, who to hug and who not to hug? Or when to pretend to notice somebody when walking down a long corridor? It’s all very complicated.

    Mr Of Mulroy: And nobody noticed you leaving several times? I must try that sometime. Maybe with different moustaches.

  6. Ah yes, walking down a corridor and noticeing someone in the distance. I think Douglas Adams had words for all the different connotations of this in his alt’ dictionary “The meaning of Liff”

  7. I experienced the mirror of this event yesterday. I work shift and sometimes the duties change. I arrived in work yesterday morning at 8:25 for a shift that started at 8:30 (to 18:00), but then discovered I wasn’t due in until 11:00 (to 19:30). So I chatted for a while then left and went shopping and came back later on time. I think I said hello then goodbye and then hello again and probably goodbye again later.

    Does this count?

    And I was pissed off for wasting 2:30 hours of my life!

  8. Interesting theory, but I’m not quiet enough to just sneak out, so there’s a goodbye even if that clearly tells the world I forgot something and had to go back *lol* Maybe things are different in Sweden…

  9. Mr Of Mulroy: Corrievorrie, I think it was.

    Stuart: I think more than an hour requires a new round of “hello”.

    Dot-com: No, probably not. It’s more likely that I am just weird.

  10. Perhaps it’s because saying goodbye is a result of the assumption that one won’t see the other again for a while, so seeing the person again would mean that one’s previous assumption was wrong, and if life has taught us anything, it’s that being wrong and making a mistake is unacceptable and should be denied and/or subtly disregarded.

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