Seinfeld-ology: “Nods to Nothing”

SeinfeldWhile having lunch with a coworker the other day, our conversation wondered to the topic of a man we work with. For the sake of the story (and to protect the guilty) we’ll call him Bradley. She and I commiserated about the fact that while very friendly and outgoing initially, Bradley’s interactions with each of us had indeed diminished over the course of time.

“Don’t you think that’s strange!?” I said to her in an extremely annoyed and curious tone. “I mean, why in the world would a person just STOP communicating for no apparent reason?”

My dining companion appeared to be equally vexed at the mere consideration of my question. “You know,” I continued “You’re probably too young to have watched or remembered the show, but this whole situation reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld.”

Of course, as many of you know… almost EVERYTHING reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld. Though I’d like to think that rather than this being due to my having some sort of sick, twisted obsession with the “Show About Nothing” — it can be contributed to the fact that the show was pure genius in that it dealt with the mundane, everyday things that happen to all of us.

Tell me friends, has anything like this ever happened to you? Here is Elaine’s scene from the aforementioned episode…

ELAINE: Tell me if you think this is strange: There’s this guy who lives in my building, who I was introduced to a couple of years ago by a friend. He’s a teacher, or something. Anyway, after we met, whenever we’d run into each other on the street, or in the lobby, or whatever, we would stop and we would chat a little. Nothing much. Little pleasantries. He was a nice guy, he’s got a family… then after a while, I noticed there was no more stopping… Just saying hello and continuing on our way.

And then the verbal hellos stopped, and we just went into these little sort of nods of recognition. So, fine. I figure, that’s where this relationship is finally gonna settle: Polite Nodding. Then one day, he doesn’t nod. Like I don’t exist?! He went from nods to nothing.

And now, there’s this intense animosity whenever we pass. I mean, it’s like we really hate each other. And it’s based on nothing.

You see, this was a perfect description of what was happening to my coworker and I! We went from nods to nothing with this guy. And although it remains annoying… there is a bit of comfort to be found in the fact that this MUST be a somewhat common occurrance in social settings.

I only wish that I had the guts to confront “Bradley” the way Elaine eventually does with her problematic rude dude…

ELAINE: So, I had what you might call a little encounter this morning. I spotted the guy getting his mail. And at first, I was just going to walk on by, but then I thought “no, no, no, no. Do not be afraid of this man.

So, I walked up behind him and I tapped him on the shoulder. And I said, “Hi, remember me?” And he furrows his brow as if he’s really trying to figure it out. So I said to him, “You little phony. You know exactly who I am.”

And he goes, “Oh, yeah. You’re Jeanette’s friend. We did meet once.” And I said, “Well, how do you go from that to totally ignoring a person when they walk by?”

And he says, “Look, I just didn’t want to say hello anymore, alright?” And I said, “Fine. Fine! I didn’t want to say hello anymore either, but I just wanted YOU to know that I’M aware of it!”

But alas, I would never actually have the intestinal fortitude to say such a thing. Most of the time art imitates life. But oh how I wish (in this case) it could be the other way around.

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11 thoughts on “Seinfeld-ology: “Nods to Nothing”

  1. Ashley says:

    I still don’t understand the need to constantly communicate with people at work. When I call a different building, it takes me 5 minutes of pleasantries and chit chat about absolutely nothing before I can get to the person I actually called for and NEED to speak with (if it wasn’t urgent, I’d send an email – picking up the phone is an indication I’m in a hurry and don’t really have time for BS.) Someone quit last year too and they cited the fact that I would walk through their area and and “ignore” them as one of their reasons for quitting – truth be told, I walked through their area probably 2 dozen times/day and no, I didn’t have time to stop and chat with them each and every time. After all, I have a job to do and ostensibly, so do they.

    Maybe I’m an ogre, but I wish I could just get on with my day without all the extra communication.

    • Donald Miller says:

      I’m in the fortunate position of getting to make my own schedule. Hence, I avoid contact with people in the morning. I *hate* the “Good morning ritual”. Strangers at the grocery store invariably do it, shoppers, cashiers, bagboys, shelf-stockers. And no matter how forlorn one looks at the impending programmatic encounter, it still happens. 😦

      Unless you don’t get out in the morning. 🙂

    • Sorry to just now get back to commenting Ashley… I understand where you’re coming from. Starting a new job has made me see this even more. But in this post I really just thought it was interesting how some relationships go from something to nothing… when they could just as easily stayed nothing to begin with! 😀

  2. Donald Miller says:

    I understand exactly what you’re getting at. There’s a certain sense of outrage that comes from being dissed someone, even if that someone doesn’t matter much. This too shall pass. Fahget about it.

    • Donald Miller says:

      Some typos:
      Mine—
      from being dissed someone (by)
      Yours—
      conversation wondered (wandered)
      it can be contributed to the fact that (attributed)

  3. I have been on the Bradley side where almost everything you say to your co-workers is used against you in one way or another and has resulted in verbal disciplinary action from your supervisor. It makes for an akward situation that you have no control in anymore. I am learning that there is two sides to the story at times. Happy Tuesday:)

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