I’ve never been good with goodbyes, I noticed this going into my early twenties. It was obvious. The party is going great, the music is good and the company is fabulous, but eventually I will want to go home. And that is exactly what I will do. I grab my things and sneak out when people are distracted or looking the other way. Very much like the Kansas City shuffle scene in Lucky Number Slevin, and by ‘very much like’, I mean not at all like that. I didn’t break anyones neck, but ideally they would be distracted in someway so I could leave without a fuss.
When I worked at the headquarters of a large bank, I decided that money grabbing immorality was not my favourite activity to do, and rather quickly decided to leave. Obviously, being such a difficult employee to replace, I legally had to give them 4 weeks notice to do it*. During that 4 weeks I met with HR, and my manager to ensure that they were the only two people who knew I was leaving. I just didn’t want to go through the arduous formalities of a goodbye.
Goodbyes are difficult, not in a ‘I can’t get past the last level of Metal Gear Solid 2’ difficult, but more in their awkwardness. Their forced-ness*. They are not fun, and everything goes over my head. I don’t remember the dates we agreed to hang out again, and I forget to laugh at the vague reference to an in joke from the evening’s activities. That is all because I am awkwardly planning out what an appropriate goodbye is, for everyone present.
OK, Tommy is definitely a firm handshake and a ‘wish you luck with the hangover tomorrow’ kind of guy. I don’t know Sarah very well, so I am not sure whether to give a weak handshake or go for a slightly awkward hug. Billy is in the corner, and I don’t know him very well either, so I just hope he doesn’t get up, so we can just give a wave we both know we’d prefer.
This situation is not rare, and given that I have just been around Ireland all week meeting loads of people I don’t know it has been rather frequent. Today I was in another goodbye situation.
I will point out here that given the situation with my Gran, I should point out that she is alive, and has even had a few promising moments. Although the awkward goodbye does include her.
I have never been in this situation before. I have left parties and I have left jobs before, but I have never left a relative who I may never see again. I didn’t want to say goodbye, because I don’t want it to be a goodbye. Equally I would hate to think that I left without saying goodbye, if the worst was to happen. Then there is the practical implications of how you say goodbye to a semi-conscious person.
I said goodbye in my own way, and that was to casually say I was heading off and then blending into the wallpaper. It was a not a goodbye. It was not a goodbye because it is not a goodbye. It is ‘I’ll be back to see you soon’. There was not even a hint of a
Kansas City Glasgow City Shuffle.
*Tough task for anyone.