28.3.05

Try not to. Go on.

I'm sitting in a meeting today in which the company chief executive and other higher ups are discussing and advising us on some information concerning our compensation. It wasn't bad, no one got laid off, we weren't bankrupt, but I don't want to get into too many specifics for obvious reasons; not least of which is that it's not terribly exciting to hear.

Which brings me to my conundrum du jour.

Why is it that teachers and supervisors and Type A people always give you a hard time about yawning? It's a semi-reflexive action, which means you only have some control over it. You can make yourself yawn to pop your ears, and you can stifle a yawn, but what's the point? Scientists don't even know for sure why we yawn, so that's the last thing I'm gonna do is stop it. If we don't know what causes it, I'm sure as hell not going to arrest it mid stride. I figure a polite hand to mouth is all that's needed. Surely, in this modern, enlightened society, we can appreciate that a yawn is a biological function and, while not appreciative if done blatantly, shouldn't be frowned upon if the person does it discretely. It’s in no way done purposefully to offend.

But no, even with my head down in my chest and the back of my fist to my mouth, I still get the inevitable, "We keeping you up?"

You know what? Yes, you are. Had I not had to stop my work flow and come sit with 20 other people in this crowded, warm office in these cushy leather chairs that lean all the way back and had to listen to people talk about numbers with the aplomb of The Turtleman from Night Court, then maybe I wouldn't have had to let my instincts take over and do...whatever my body does when it yawns.

Yes, you are boring me to tears. Yes you are filling the room with too much CO2. Yes you are giving me an ancestral signal that forces my jaw to want to stretch itself, either to show my teeth or signal a change of action is needed. Take your pick. Whichever you choose, notice it's not, "Keeping my attention rapt and undevided."

In middle school I had a French teacher who hated yawning. She was a little Mexican lady who was otherwise a hoot. She would stick her arms out like a cross and look up at the ceiling and say, "Nope! Jou give me stress!" One time, an ├ętudiant de camarade (eh? French?) was trying to get her attention by saying, "Yo." After two of these consecutively, she snapped. "You called me a yo-yo?!"

Well shoot, went off on a tangent there.

Ah, yes. She would keep kids after school for yawning in her class. Her rationale was that when you yawn your ears plug up and you can't hear what she's saying and she would not repeat things. I mean do people know that yawning is a partial reflex? It's like getting the chills; you can't stop that. What's this social stigma we have with people thinking that when you yawn it is a personal affront? You want to know what the affront is? You being so damn boring, that's what's offensive. My yawning should indicate that you need to pick up the pace, Chappy. Use some sparklers or strippers. Forget the sparklers.

I mean really. It's these same idgets that say quirky little annoying things when you ask what the time or date is.

"Can you tell me what time it is?"

"Time to buy a watch."

“...”

"Sir, I don't have time to load a shotgun with rock salt and tear a painful hole in the front part of your chest, would you just tell me what fucking time it is please?"

I just don't get it. Especially if you yawn and cover your mouth, then say, "Excuse me." I mean, that covers all the Emily Post angels, doesn't it? If, after that, you still catch flak, can you cudgel the commenting individual with his or her own shoe? How about a quick punch to the throat?

How many times did you yawn reading this?

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