Morning all, here’s yesterday’s column. Hope you enjoy.
A MILLION MILES FROM NORMAL – By Paige Nick
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,
I think it’s time we all got together and wrote a strongly worded letter to whoever the boss is around here. Because I believe there are a couple of areas where we, the people of the world need to standardise a little.
Let’s take plugs for example. Is there any good reason why they can’t all just be the same? Wouldn’t that be easier? What’s with the two-pronged, three pronged, square-pronged, triangular-pronged, different-shaped vibe? And plugs also differ from country to country, so by the time you’ve finished buying adaptors, you need adaptors for your adaptors. Sure, I understand that the plug translator guy need to make a living too, so he can send all his little plug translator kids to plug translator college, but still, it seems unnecessary.
The same goes for car indicators. In some cars they’re on the right, in others on the left. You can tell a person in a new or hired car from a mile away. They’re the ones turning on the windscreen wipers every time they want to go right.
And search me for why we drive on different sides of the road in different countries. I usually spend my first three days on holiday stepping off curbs directly into the path of oncoming traffic. It’s a dangerous world out there. And not just with electronics, we have no idea how to greet each other anymore, either.
I recently went to a meeting where I bumped into a client I haven’t seen in a really long time. We worked together years ago when we were both at different companies. It was such a lovely surprise to see him, that I did something entirely inappropriate. I hugged him.
It was a very awkward moment for both of us, but by the time I realised I was making a huge mistake I’d already gone in for the hug, and it was too late to pull out of it. So we hugged like two cardboard cut outs. What I should have done instead was shake his hand warmly and professionally. It’s not like he’s my close friend or a member of my family or anything. And now I worry I’ve gone and set a precedent. Do we have to hug every time we see each other from now on, or can we revert to the handshake? There are so many different forms of greeting out there, it’s impossible to figure out what fits in where. I’m telling you, it’s time to standardise.
You can’t even rely on the simple kiss or the common handshake anymore, both of them have become massively complicated and even slightly political. First of all there are so many variations. The air-cheek kiss, the one-cheek kiss, the on-the-lips-kiss, the two-cheek kiss, and then the blimming Dutch have to go and take it a step further and do a three cheek kiss! It’s so confusing. Go in for one kiss too few and you might seem uncool, and go in for one too many and you could come off as pretentious. You also run the risk of a nose-bash if you don’t know what you’re doing.
And I never know with the handshake either. It’s such a grey area. Forgive my ignorance, I don’t want to offend anybody, but should we be doing the double wrist twist African Shake if we shake hands with a black person, or is it better to stick with the regular shake? Or if I want to be young and hip should I try doing one of those choreographed variations with the clicks, slides and slaps, or am I too old for that already?
You generally have about a split second to make your greeting decision when you see someone coming. You stand up, put out your hand for a shake, see that they’ve put out both hands for a hug, then you put out the other hand so that it seems as if you were also going in for a hug too, but by then, having noticed your body language, they’ve reverted to a handshake position. It feels like you’re playing Rock, Paper, Scissors.
So, who’s with me on the standardising thing? Maybe our letter should go something like this;
‘Dear whoever is in charge…’
Or should that be ‘To whom it may concern,…’
Or maybe it should be more casual, like; ‘Hi there,’
Or what about; ‘Hello Big Cheese’, wait, is that too informal?