true gripes good mornings

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A few months before I left school I was sent on a work-experience day in the administrative department of the city council offices. I got there about five to nine and the office junior, a youth slightly older than myself, suggested I help him go through the post. We were quietly getting on with our work when, at nine o'clock on the dot, this man in a suit bustled into the office, swung his briefcase onto a desk and boomed: "GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING," about six times. We both mumbled "Morning" back as he sat down, and then, visibly wincing, my companion turned to me and muttered "He does that everyday". His face told me everything. He was doomed, stuck in this job, to be "good morninged" by his boss forever. I decided at that moment never to take an office job.

Shortly afterwards I began to encounter the dentist's receptionist on my way to school. At first I looked forward to seeing her as she was quite attractive. She always smiled and said "Good morning", and I continued my journey with a spring in my step. But after a while I noticed that her smile was beginning to lose its sweetness. After all, I was just a schoolkid who happened to be on her files. Saying "Good morning" was a polite necessity, nothing more. Nevertheless, it made me feel awkward and I started to go to school the back way to avoid her.

Ever since those days I have had a loathing of jolly "good mornings". It is the insincerity of it all that I don't like. But there doesn't seem to be any escape from it. There's a bloke I pass in the early morning on my way to work. When he sees me coming he always stops whistling and chimes "Good morning". How does he know it's a good morning when it isn't even light yet? And when I see him later in the day, when there are other people around, he never says a word. He just carries on whistling.

It is like these shops that have signs in the window reading "Nice people to do business with". I don't want to do business with nice people. I want to be able to march into the shop and shout at them when the thing they've sold me is useless. But I can't do this if they are always nice and greet me with a jolly "Good morning" every time I go in.

Comments