Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rant-'I've Been Thinking About You!'

(the names have been changed to protect the guilty and non-guilty alike)

One of my biggest rants are those people, particularly those whom I see rarely if at all, that tell me that they've been thinking about me.

This, to me, is one of the most innocuous and meaningless phrases in the human language.

If you ever are on the receiving end of this comments, it communicates to you that the delivering party didn't have quite enough thought to email you or call you, or express a real interest or make a real investment in your life. They just wanted you to know that they were thinking about you. Out of all the thoughts that had recently gone through that person's mind, they dared perceive that you could take some satisfaction in the knowledge that they directed some of those thoughts toward you.

Completely unprovable and meaningless, and a bit self-centered.

The following true story illustrates the painfully obvious to which I am referring. In this instance, the friend didn't even have the decency to tell the other person he was thinking about him.

He picked me to send the message.

I see 'Rob' about once a year-he's really more of an acquaintance at this point. We have a mutual friend that Rob was in a position at the time to see fairly regularly, if from a self-imposed distance. I've seen 'Fred' even less, both then and into the present.

Rob and I were working on a project as is usually the reason for our association. It was him, a group of fellow collaborators and me.

Rob said during a break, 'Hey Brian, do you still see Fred?'

'Not too much,' I said.

'Tell him I've been thinking about him.'

I looked puzzled. I asked him, 'You've been thinking about him?'

'Yeah,' he replied with an almost agitated look on his face, as if he'd been confronted on the shallowness of his gesture, 'I've been thinking about him.'

I saw Fred about a year later. After some catching up, I delivered the message.

We both had a good laugh about that one.

Fred understood the zero effort put behind this empty phrase.

Not every time is this phrase without meaning.

Between former lovers, such a well-placed statement could reignite smoldering embers, if but for a fort-night.

One may recall Londonbeat's "I've Been Thinking About You." The intention behind the music and lyrics indicates that there is a bit more than just mere thinking going on, it is obvious that the lyricist really misses being with the object of his affections.

Or it could be a warning flag to hang up the phone immediately on such a former lover.

From an employer it could be the beginning of good news.

Or bad.

In regards to an acquaintance, you can bet your bottom dollar that the next time you're in a group with one of these people and it comes time to snap a group shot, you're going to be the one who snaps the picture.

Until the next article,

'I'll be thinking about you!.'