Volume 90, Issue 63

Thursday, January 16, 1997



OPINION: It's the New Year, get over it already!

"Our day-to-day life is bombarded with fortuities or, to be more precise, with the accidental meetings of people and events we call coincidences." – Milan Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Here's a news flash – New Year's is over.

And I'm going to hit the next person who wishes me a happy new year or asks how my New Year's Eve was.

You would think that two weeks is enough time to just let go of a tradition that, in earnest, means nothing. If you're asking because you want to hear about a crazy party, ask my friends about last Thursday and they'll tell you a funny tale.

If you find yourself wishing an acquaintance a happy new year halfway into January you might want to question the importance of maintaining a relationship with that acquaintance. Sure, it's polite, but there are faster, simpler ways of being polite to people you only sort of know.

I like to say, "Hi, how are ya?" and scoot on by.

Why is it that people find the need to make small talk with relative strangers when there are more pressing matters at hand? Last week I missed the first five minutes of Seinfeld because someone I met two years ago at a party wanted to talk about his wood shop class in high school. I, a politely-challenged individual, stood and listened before jettisoning this sticky situation.

Don't get me wrong – I'm all for socializing. If there's one thing the University of Western Ontario is famous for, it's its uncompromising social scene. And there isn't one among any of us in the university community who isn't thrilled to be a part of it.

But how well can you get to know another person through idle hallway chat? Can you plan a future business endeavor with someone who asks "How was your weekend?" then confuses your best friend for your mother in the ensuing conversation?

I'm not really a grump, but I suggest we create an international symbol for acquaintances and hallway meetings. The symbol would indicate, "Hi, very nice to see you, but I am not taking one minute out of my day to speak you. Good day.

"And if I don't see you again until 1998, have a happy new year."

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca