It seems like a pretty simple and straightforward form of communicating, but like most things in this life, there’s always more to the story than meets the eye. I’ll be the first to admit that, in general, women have a different definition and practice at it than men, but not all the time and not when it really matters.
There’s the basic obligatory and mannerly “goodbye” or “bye” that we use on strangers and acquaintances, then there is the veteran “goodbyes” that can be an art form all unto themselves. You might even consider the art of goodbye a ceremony that folks that care deeply for one another participate in when exiting one another’s company.
It happens often like a ritual passed down from generations of artists who have honed the craft and art of saying “goodbye.” It’s almost like a series of three to five-minute rounds and the goodbye bout can last up to twelve rounds for the very voracious veterans venting valor to valued vanguards… yeah…
The goodbye masters are like gunslingers, stating with intention their plans, “It’s late, I better get going.” This is akin to the boxer standing in the corner of the ring shadow boxing, trying to stay warm, but the endeavor hasn’t even begun yet. This announcement is really like the warning bell to let us know the real bell will be forthcoming.
The visiting of ones dear to our hearts continues, questions asked, questions answered, information offered, memories recounted, small talk exchanged and important topics lost track of while time has slipped by. The “goodbye slinger” threatens again, “Oh it’s late, I really need to get going… but that doesn’t rouse anybody from their chair; only the amateurs think that means anyone is going somewhere anytime soon.
After a fashionable time has lapsed the “goodbye slinger” nonchalantly rises while still fully engaged. This is the part of the goodbye process that involves actually moving toward the front door at the speed of cold molasses. If the home is equipped with an opening from the kitchen to the hall that leads toward the front door, this will be skillfully used by the master of goodbyes like the weary traveler uses the rest stops along the highway.
The conversation continues as if the dignitaries involved are wise fathers at the gate of the old Biblical cities read about in the OT. Oh so slowly the dance begins towards the front door, first the hostess leading, then the non-anxious visitor slowly and artfully turns as if poetry in motion to take the lead and position closest to the door, but alas there will be many more turns and lead changes before the pay dirt of the front threshold is achieved.
After the awkward door is finally pulled open the “goodbye” transfers to the front porch, where weather permitting, might be best equated to the halftime of a football game where all involved can get a bathroom break. After the start of the second half and the slow dance to the car door is finally reached, the visitors wave their hands as if waving pistols, often hugs and the goodbye is stated and truly meant for the last time.
It’s fun to make light of crazy quirks that have turned into traditions, but time spent with people we care about and God has placed in our lives should be cherished. When they’re done – we’ll never have had enough of them…