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Friday, June 5, 2009

nice (and boring)

I am listening to the sounds of Seal. There is a smallish creeper cat laying in bed and she's been watching us intently for a while now.


That is, until she decided to follow Drew's example and fall asleep.

And she's not even the one who has to get up early tomorrow morning in order to be at her husband's brother's wedding ceremony at 9:45 am.

But still, she is a cat and so it would seem that her calling in life is to curl up and sleep while remaining tantalizingly soft to the point that I just must pet her at which point she abruptly awakens with an irritated meow! attached to a thinly veiled threat indicating that there had better be a treat of some kind involved with this interrupted nap cause if not why don't we just pretend that being rudely startled out of my 17th hour of sleep today did not happen?

Oh, unless of course you want to keep scratching right there, right under my chin...

And so on and so forth until I am tired of scratching and she starts napping again.

Or I don't know, maybe I am reading too much into it. But I think not.

It's really nice to lay here and just be for a while. No schedule. No deadlines. Nothing that I have to do. Except maybe fold the nearly true-to-life size replica I have going of Mount Fuji on my dining room table that is otherwise known as laundry.

Except for that.

But laundry can keep. For now. And at least it's clean; there's gotta be some points for that.

Saying that it is nice to lay here reminded me of something. I have a bit of an aversion to people calling me that.

Nice.

I feel like it's a cop-out. I feel like it's another way I saying I don't really know you and from what I can tell you seem pretty innocuous and maybe even boring so when pressed I will just call you nice.

When I finished my first year of UArts we had yearbooks of some sort. People, having recently left high school (or most, anyway, since I never did go to high school), were deciding to sign each other's. I was not asking anyone for signatures. I was fine without them, in fact. But one girl, Jen, saw my book and decided to just grab it and sign before I could politely decline.

Later when I opened up the page, it said something like Jessica, you are such a nice person and I am so glad that we are dancing together! There might have even been a heart involved with the exclamation point, but my keyboard isn't that cool, I guess.

My point is that this girl really didn't know me. It was such a generic note; it could have been written for a chicken. Chicken, you are such a nice chicken and I am so glad we are dancing together!

Well, okay, I guess it would only work if Jen was actually dancing with a chicken. But performance art knows no bounds and I would not be surprised if someone somewhere has danced with a chicken.

And afterward, written a note to that chicken which did nothing but affirm to the chicken that it's real personality was largely unknown.

And the chicken would rather be called a good many things other than nice.

Which is exactly how I feel.

12 comments:

Nina said...

I was actually just thinking about the word "nice" recently. Who knows why. But I was thinking what a truly terrible word it is. I think "nice" implies a sort of passivity -- like you're just nice and you'll never be any other way. It's kind of a blanket word. I think "kind" is a better word, implying that you actively choose to act in kind and thoughtful ways.

peaj said...

But you are nice.

To me, the word means that you are pleasant, kind, cheerful, and emotionally generous. I've seen it when you are with other people and I've experienced it myself: even with people that you don't know well or see often, you give them a big smile and show genuine interest in them while you are talking to them.

But, rather than use an entire paragraph to describe this characteristic, I would use nice. I'll try to remember to not use it to describe you in your presence. ;-)

We must reclaim these words that others have made insipid! Bring back nice and interesting!

Jessica said...

Sort of like how justin timberlake brought sexy back?!

And thank you, btw:)

Collin and Lindsay said...

Peaj, I get what you are saying. Given your description, though, I would use the word "kind." To me, kindness implies something more genuine than "nice." "Nice" to me implies being generically polite or uncontroversial. Being "nice" is often what we do as part of a social script. I was just thinking today that being "nice" is overrated. I think that being kind is something deeper, something that often takes courage, something that is more sincere and authentic than just good etiquette. I mean, the words are just arbitrary, but that is how I perceive the word "nice."
--Lindsay

peaj said...

I know not of this sexy back of which you speak.

And Lindsay, I hear what you are saying about the connotations of nice. But at the moment, kind has a connotation of charity in it, with a perhaps an attendant patronizing overtone. With a medium bright strawberry finish. ;-)

kathiek said...

Of course, there's "nice" and there's "NICE!"...

Collin and Lindsay said...

Peaj, LOL! Your description sounded like a wine connoisseur describing wine...strawberry finish! HA! Anyway, I used the word nice like 5 times tonight since I criticized it, so apparently, it's a habitual adjective for me even when I really mean to say something positive.

Jess said...

I guess if I had to choose between "nice" and "NICE," I'd choose the latter.

And like Lindsay I can see what you are saying, peaj, but I'd still rather be associated with a lot of other things before nice.

peaj said...

Fine, you're vibrant. Enjoy. ;-)

Jess said...

Now that's more like it!!! :-)

Michele said...

I looked up the definition of "nice", and though it is definitely an adjective, I'm not sure it was ever meant to describe people. But I have to admit that I was going to defend it at first! Either way, there are worse things that could be said about someone than to say they are "nice".

Personally, I thought the description of your laundry was taken from a peek into my livingroom :)

Jess said...

Now Michele--I am way too nice to ever say anything about your laundry;-)