Thursday, August 24, 2006

Such a thing as too nice

Seattle is not known for being outgoing. We're nice, but we're not friendly. While many outsiders think we're being antisocial, we're actually just trying to be polite. Seattle doesn't like to make waves; doesn't want to pry into your personal life; doesn't like to overstep its bounds. So we keep our mouths shut.

In this way at least, I am very Seattle. Case in point:

The Kid and I walked up to a neighborhood restaurant last weekend. Half way through our meal, The Kid needed a potty break so we briefly excused ourselves. We returned moments later to find that an over exuberant busboy had cleared our table. Stunned, I sat down and tried to figure out the best way to handle the situation. I didn't want to inconvenience them by requesting they prepare new meals. And I didn't want to get anyone in trouble, because I assumed it had been an honest mistake. But I'd really been looking forward to boxing our left overs so that I wouldn't have to cook the following night. What to do, what to do? Still in a quandary when the check came, I looked at the waiter and said... "Thank you."

Eventually I tracked down our waiter, told him our sad story, and was treated to an extra entree for The Kid, and a reduced bill. But it was solely due to The Kid's pleading eyes telling me he was still hungry. Had it been just me, I'm willing to bet I would've just paid the bill without saying a word.

Ridiculous, no?

This over politeness extends to my dating as well. Sure, anyone who's creepy or an overt asshole gets the boot quickly and decisively (most of the time). But the nice guys that I'm just not that into? THOSE guys get to date me as long as they want, because I'm too polite to tell them to go away. I'm on one such guy's speed dial these days, and after every date I think it has to be the last one. Surely he's just as aware as I am that this is going no where. But he always calls and asks me out again.

He called again today, and it finally occurred to me: HE's from Seattle too, and WAAAAAY more polite than me. It would be rude not to call. So presumably, while I'm on one end of the line wondering why he keeps calling me, he's sitting on the other end wondering why in hell I keep answering. Politeness is such a beautiful thing on which to build a relationship...

1 comment:

Angry Dissenter said...

When it comes to bad dates, you have to learn to kick those puppies. It's hard, but there's a certain graciousness in being the one who has taken it upon yourself to actually be impolite. Think about it . . .

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