Saturday, August 22, 2020

YA Posting on Being and Seeming

A plumber did an ambitious oil-to-gas conversion to my heating system. He was a jovial guy whose stock phrase was "It's all good!"

When he finished the job, it was time to show me how to run the new system. I picked up my iPhone and started recording his instructions. His smile dropped and he told me, menacingly, to stop recording him.

I knew why: liability. He works for a big plumbing operation, which has put the fear of god into him re: liability issues. If he misspoke, or left something out, and my house blew up, I'd have the proof in-hand to sue the bejesus out of them. But, still, I needed to document his instructions somehow.

"Just listen to the instructions. I'll be clear!" he implored. "If you'll come upstairs," I replied, "I'll give you a five minute history of jazz trombone. Even if I'm 'very clear', by the time you get out to your truck, you'll have forgotten every word, because jazz trombone is not your world. Boilers aren't my world."

I asked whether I could shoot photos and take notes. He gravely wagged his head. My efforts to placate were putting him through writhing contortions of pain. Finally, I threw up my hands and asked "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO 'IT'S ALL GOOD'???"

People say "it's all good" in a desperate effort to convince themselves. It's a talisman for the negative-minded. They're not talking to you. They're talking to themselves. They're acting the way they want to see themselves on the big movie screen in their head. They're being That Guy by saying the line That Guy would say. It's a solipsistic performance.

I've worn Weatherproof coats (both insulated winter coats and shoulder-season zip-downs) since I was a teenager. I always loved them, and had been despairing of ever finding anything like them...when I discovered they're still in operation and selling via Internet! Better still, their coats were discounted to like $30 per, with free shipping.

Being a supportive-minded customer, I wrote in:
Hi, I’ve been wearing your jackets since the 1970s! Question: can I see and try the "FALL 18 MEN” jackets pictured on your web site at 4 Bryant Park (12th Floor)? I realize I could buy and return ones I don’t like, but I’d rather not make you pay for all that shipping! thanks, JIM
They replied:
Thank you for being a long time Weatherproof customer , we are very pleased that you like our product.

Unfortunately the showrooms at 4 Bryant Park are for the sole purpose of wholesale practices and not open to the public.

As much as we appreciate your candor in regards to “paying for shipping “ back and forth , there really is no other way to go about this.

Having said that the only other way maybe, would be to try jackets on in a retail store ala a Macys, Boscovs, Steinmart or L&T , but they also will not have every particular style that is available on our site.

Sorry to disappoint.
Probably, in retrospect, being overly gabby and annoying, I sent this:
Thanks for your reply. Yeah, Macy’s et al don’t have much stock on these jackets at this point.

I can’t live with making you pay $30 return shipping for a $30 sale. So here’s what I propose.

I’ll order 5 jackets at once, and return the 4 I don’t want. I’ll try to arrange with your shipping people to return the 4 rejects in one shipment (to save shipping $$). And I’ll publicize your sale on social media (as a favor to my circles as much as to you!).

Ordering 5 at once, ASAP, also ensures I won’t encounter sold-out items as a result of my own publicity efforts!

If you’d prefer I proceed some other way, let me know (I want you guys in business for years and years).

There was no reply. Which made complete sense. I get it. "Dude, I answered your question, and told you it's not a big deal, and I can't devote this level of time and attention to our chatty little exchange, I have work to do." That's absolutely reasonable, and I had no hard feelings. Sometimes I can be annoying. Ugh. OTOH, would it have killed him to shoot back "Don't sweat it!"?

A few years later, after my most recent order, the guy sent this auto-mailing:
Hi James,

Wanted to take a second and thank you for your business. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing an order from a repeat customer, and I can’t express how grateful I am every time.

If there is anything else I can do for you, please do not be shy.

Thank you again, Weatherproof Team

Don't be shy! Let it blast! Get in touch! I'm That Guy!

Jesus Christ...

People who say “feel free to approach me with any questions/issues” are never particularly open to questions or issues. In fact, they're less responsive than average. They say it because they want to be someone who says that. It jibes with their self image and their aspirations. But pose-strikers are not the type who put out and follow through (as I exhaustively explained in my Autism posting).

After 57 years, I flinch when I hear "come to me with any issues or questions." I know that person isn't talking to me. He's watching himself speak those words on the movie screen in his head. He's convincing himself he's that person. And it never turns out well to interrupt a solipsistic performance with a question or an issue.

Who patiently answers questions? The person who'd never imagine creating an image of super-responsiveness.

Who truly believes "it's all good"? The person who doesn't repeat it like a mantra.

And (referencing, again, my Autism posting) who will come get you when your car breaks down at 3am? Not the person who's perfected the art of branding herself as terrifically supportive, and who frequently assures you she has your back. No. You can count on blah people, who focus not on self-imagery but on actually doing stuff.

Blah people rule. I'm a blah person. In fact, I'm the blah-est motherfucker you ever saw. Sure, I don't write like it, or play like it, or think like it, but those are all doings, not seemings. Doers are occupied by doing, while seemers merely sit there and display. Those who've got the goods don't waste effort on the "seeming" end of it.

One last bit from the autism posting:
Why would you invest effort into seeming smart once you know you genuinely are smart; contriving to seem compassionate when you already actually are compassionate; stating canned lovey platitudes when you truly are in love? It requires an odd sort of downshift to pretend to be what you actually already are.
And one more bonus thought, from this posting about surprise:
For god's sake, do we really need to relish it so much? Do singers need to feel like they're just nailing it every time they execute one of the soulful-ish vocal tricks we've all heard a gazillion times? Do they need to feel like they've gone super extra deep when they take the exact same-lengthed pause everybody takes when they want to seem like they're going super extra deep?

Most singers become singers because they want to be singers, not because they want to sing. This is why most singers suck.

Followup posting

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