On the telephone somebody says, "we feel so sorry for you." Ugh. I don't. Even if there were a need I wouldn't feel sorry for myself. There is much else to feel sorry for. Onward Christian soldiers!
I chuck something in the rubbish bin in The Grove, and miss. Noticing that I still have difficulty in bending, a young woman turns back to pick it up. Kindness.
When I complain about clichés I'm told that there's a need for them. Some people cannot communicate in any other way. I can see this - there are social occasions when I stutter to get something out; it may not be terribly profound but as it leaves me, in its mangled form, it has the benefit of being original. I see further - this is all about me and not the recipent. So in rejecting clichés I'm really being selfish. To be truly middle-class means, I think, to be able to deliver clichés effortlessly and with such well-simulated conviction that they are received as original. There was a time when I aspired to be middle-class (VR says I was born into it) but now, at my advanced age, I recognise this will never happen. I regret this. I would like to appear effortless. This jumble may have some bearing on one of the points you make.
Another wonderful Birdie photo.
RR. Class perhaps, but it seems to me that the problem is rather finding a way of expressing genuine sentiment. Clichés though hard to avoid get in the way of the honest communication of true feelings.
More birdies today.
At least they didn't say that they empathised with you!
I've come to see the value of forms sometimes; they can fill a gap which left empty, might appear to be rudeness and ignorance, and yes, sometimes the fear of cliché and lack of originality is more about oneself and self-consciousness than compassion. Nevertheless, it is irritating to feel people are just going through the motions (another cliché, of course). I think much of the problem here was it was the wrong cliché, nobody wants to be told they are felt sorry for; it's patronising and usually used in the third person and qualified: 'I feel sorry for him but...' If they had said 'we are sorry (to hear) about ...' it would have been a well-worn formula but surely not offensive.
I was trying to think what 'a kindness of' is the word for a group of, but I don't think it is. There is an unkindness of ravens, and a piteousness of doves. Piteous is preferable to pitiable!
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