SHRIYA NAGPAL ’16
Twas a typical Wednesday morning on the Long Walk. The Trinity winds relentlessly thrashed my naked face as I nobly pioneered on to the other side of the world: The Writing Center. With only a stupid Hello Kitty notebook and a heart full of sarcasm to keep me alive, I continued to brave the winds fury in hopes that the day had finally come where my professor would learn my name. Thankfully, my weekly treks were never void of my friend’s encouragement. “You are almost there” Mather inspired. “Don’t give up!” Seabury chimed. “Today will be the day she learns your name,” Jarvis seduced, “Today, you will…”
But alas, introverted Jarvis was immediately silenced at the sight of another human being approaching, and my heart began to race at the prospect of interacting with something other than a brick building. So in anticipation, I decelerated my aggressive strut into a graceful stroll in hopes of invoking some “natural” small-talk like, “Lovely weather we are having, isn’t it?” “The long walk gets longer every day huh?” or the classic, “If it was any windier my face would fly off. Ha Ha?”
Yes, sadly, at the time, all of these seemed to be viable options. But these attempts at conversation would prove irrelevant in the face of my fellow Long Walk Pioneer’s greeting of “Sup.”
Now, I will be the first one to admit that next to Kristen Stewart, I am the single most awkward person alive. But this awkwardness seems to be only further accentuated when juxtaposed next to an equally awkward salutation such as Long Walk Pioneer’s seemingly casual “sup.” That is, what does “sup” even entail? Traditionally, my understanding was that “sup” represented an abbreviated form of “wasup,” which in itself is ironically yet another abbreviation for “what is up?” Yet contrary to its origin, it seems that it is socially inacceptable to answer the abbreviated abbreviation with the same response you would entertain “wasup” or “what is up.” That is, when I responded to Long Walk Pioneer’s squared abbreviation with a detailed analysis of my morning, I was met with a skeptical gaze, for apparently “sup” is no longer considered a personal inquiry but rather bears the same equivalence to a cold, condescendingly polite smile.
But then you may wonder as I have, how does one go about responding to this impersonal double abbreviation? A smile is easily entertained with a smile. A wave is easily entertained with a wave. But a “sup” sure as hell is not settled through another “sup.” In fact this double usage of “sup” just awards the responder with undesirable characteristics such as lacking any source of imagination and potentially possessing the qualities associated with a handicapped parrot. The only option left, it would seem, that would appropriately accommodate this horrible three letter greeting would be to ignore the greeting entirely and carry on with whatever metaphorical Long Walk you happen to be enduring at the time.
Come on Trinity, there are so many other stimulating greetings we can award upon one another that have the potential to invoke some kind of quasi-interpersonal relationship.
For example, the British often dabble in the art of social kissing. Young lads and fair maidens alike will present each other with a simple personal kiss on the check in a perfectly informal situation. In Russia, the typical greeting is a firm handshake while simultaneously maintaining intense, personal eye contact. The Japanese, nobly bow in light of greeting one another, illustrating the epitome of interpersonal respect. And even so, interpersonal greetings are not merely subjected to that of certain civilized human cultures, but seem to transcend into the animal kingdom as well. Lions greet each other by ceremoniously rubbing their foreheads together. Wolves wave their tales and lick each other’s faces. And dogs, enthusiastically and very personally, smell each other’s bums just to say a friendly “hello.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means advocating the smelling of body parts as a form of communication, for admittedly this could lead to some perverse actions. However, I do feel that there is room for improvement in regards to using greetings with one another that foster some type of interpersonal connection. Instead of using “sup,” just maybe we can expend a little bit more energy and extend our abbreviation to a “wasup?” or if we are feeling especially social, perhaps an earth-shattering “what is up?” Not only will these extra words foster a more interpersonal relationship, but it will also provide genetically awkward people like Kristen and I with a sense of direction in terms of responding to general social interactions. I mean seriously, there is a reason why Edward Cullen never greets Bella with a “sup.” She just cannot handle it.
On a serious note Trinity, let’s not make the Long Walk longer than it needs to be. Next time you see an adorable girl with a Hello Kitty notebook talking to inanimate objects, feel free to greet her with anything but a “sup.”