Cat Got Your Tongue? An Open Letter To People Who Act Like They Can’t Speak

July 13, 2012  |  

Hello. How are you? And what the hell is your problem?

That is what I always want to say to you individuals who walk into the office of my job, the home of my mother (as a guest of a sibling or other family members), or who I KNOW I’ve met on a different occasion who probably remember me too, BUT DON’T SPEAK. No “Hello, I’m looking for…” no “Hey, how you doing?” and not even a doggone head nod that without words still shows you acknowledge those around you. Cat got your tongue?

Allow me to blow off some steam real quick. I don’t know about anybody else, but my mother always taught me that when you walk into other people’s homes, or anything that doesn’t belong to you and find yourself exposed to others, you should be ready and willing to throw a greeting someone’s way. And movies like Don’t Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood taught me, in simpler yet hood-complex terms, that fools need to make themselves known when they roll up in someone’s spot. Point. Blank. Period.

Yet and still, I’ve watched in awe as the friends of my nieces and nephews waltzed into my mother’s home on Thanksgiving evening and barely opened up their mouths as they made jokes that only my niece could hear. I’ve watched people with a false sense of entitlement walk into an office full of folks and just start waltzing around, staring into glass offices, looking for people like they own the place instead of simply saying, “Hi, sorry to bother you, but I’m looking for ___.” Instead, somebody has had to end up saying, sometimes in a hostile manner, “CAN I HELP YOU!?”

And who else has tried to smile, wave or say hello to someone they’ve worked with on a project, met at an event, know through mutual friends and more, only to have them play you like Boo Boo The Fool? My first full-time job and whole college experience was filled with moments where I would slave over a project with a classmate, joke about the most random of things in the process and get a good grade together,  only to have that individual pass me at the gym, walking on campus, or in a new class and pretend they hadn’t seen me before and didn’t know me from Adam. Sadly, I can count about one person (outside of the black people I worked with in Afro-American Literature classes only because of a lack of diversity) who actually made a conscious effort to greet me and talk like we were old friends outside of assignments. What’s more sad is, he’s become one of those Anti-Obama ranters who acts a damn fool on Facebook and make me wonder if I should delete them from my friends list quickly and quietly before November…And don’t get me started on the folks that sit next to you in cubicles but will see you on the street and be ready to walk in the opposite direction.

I’m not asking for a “HEY GIRL HEY!” or something over-the-top, stereotypical or something that requires me to divulge everything that has happened in my life since I last saw you, but Lawd knows I hate trying to be the bigger person to say hello to a phony baloney individual who tried to walk past me with their head down on the sly like our eyes didn’t meet. Nor do I appreciate having to ask a guest who they are when they are walking up into my ish, or place of work. I know technology has made a few folks scary about having human interaction and you’d prefer to text me “hello,” but lack of home training also lends itself as a reason why anyone would find this behavior okay. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t speak, but it sure as hell is rude. Please, do better.

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