Tuesday, December 14, 2010

There had to be a hello.

I once knew a man, not as well as some, but enough to know he never said goodbye. Instead, Father Tony Lehman would say "to be continued..." A farewell befitting of his religious convictions, peaceful presence and tremendous wisdom.

Having been on the move now for the better part of a decade I've become rather accustomed to saying goodbye. Unfortunately, "to be continued" really only worked when Father Tony said it.

However the goodbye (or if you prefer its historical form "god be with ye") is an art I've never really mastered. Back in college my departure from social gatherings came to be known as "pullin' a Myers" where upon I would skip the goodbye and make an exit out a back door or linger my way towards any direction that would allow me to slip away without immediate detection. It's nothing I'm proud of but was something so common many of my friends grew to expect/accept it.

Over the years I have learned to face the music and it seems to me "the goodbye" regardless of how long you've known the person/people, be it bidding farewell after lunch, or parting from a significant other or leaving a Christmas party or the countless other farewells one finds him/herself saying on any given day, each of them can be placed into one of three distinct categories:

1) The Harry Houdini goodbye: where you feel like a magic trick has been preformed on you, as if Houdini jerked out the soft-warm-bunny feeling friendship from your heart the moment you turned and walked away. Followed by a dull pain felt floating somewhere in the core of your being (which, coincidentally also happened to be the cause of Houdini's death, J. Gordon Whitehead punched him repeatedly in the stomach, testing Harry's claim he could take any blow to the stomach) because you both know seeing each other again will likely never occur or will take place many months if not years from now.

2) The standard nonchalant goodbye: more or less a formality, given that circumstances surrounding the farewell will have both parties seeing each other (for better or worse) again in the immediate future and thus there is no need to get overly emotional. Likely the most common of all goodbyes.

3) Finally, the "good riddance" goodbye: Admittedly, I have found it useful in only a handful of situations as it is the most difficult goodbye to execute properly given how connected our world has become (facebook, twitter, email, blogs, etc) and I find the hardest to explain to you, the reader, without coming off as a complete jerk.

My take on the "good riddance" goodbye (which -side note- i think is a coincidence worth pointing out, that the word "dance" beautifully fits within the word riddance, as there has been a time or two where immediately following a good riddance goodbye, i broke into a quiet song and dance to celebrate the separation.) is that people are constantly dropping in and out of each of our lives. Some stick around longer than others, but for a select group for whatever reason, once they drop out of our lives, it would be better for all involved if they stayed out (and/or vice versa).

I trust this is starting to read rather harsh, but point being, why can't we get back some of those good old fashion good riddance goodbyes, like when a man (or woman) on horseback rides off into the horizon, a trail of dust, a rhythmic fade of hooves hitting the ground being the final image you/they have of them/you. I believe there is hidden value in the good riddance goodbye however rare it might be in this world, a crown of closure.
All of this is to say that during my travels I have met some _______ characters (fill in the blank with any descriptive word you wish, I guarantee they all fit). Many of them flip through my head, as if the game GUESS WHO was affixed to an 80's style Rolodex and placed in my brain, spinning endlessly with different faces/personalities. Many of whom I would love to see again, many I will see again some day and others who get lost in the flow of time. It does happen from time to time that I'll think back to a particularly sad Houdini goodbye, remembering thoughts of someone I met way out in the field, smiling as I realize for every fond farewell there had to be a hello.

1 comment:

Tenshi Rising said...

To be continued...

Can't wait to say hello again...

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