9// Niceties

The meeting request from the sales manager said that The Scientist was “cordially” invited to a work-related dinner later that week.  While most would consider it a pleasant thing to be invited to ANY dinner, he supposed, and while the restaurant the company was springing for was fairly upscale (or so he had heard – he did not venture much past the three restaurants he felt comfortable in), he found he was having a hard time getting past the introductory phrase of the invitation.

Cordially. Meaning “kindly,” “warmly,” “genially,” “not hatefully,” “with gusto,” etc.

Why was this a necessary word to add to ANY invitation, much less one sent to people who work with or for you?  Was there another way to invite someone to such a gathering? Didn’t the act of the invitation, along with the knowledge that money would be proffered on your behalf to partake of food and/or drinks, signify that the invite was of a genial nature?

Cordially,he said under his breath, turning the word slowly with his tongue as if he were tasting it.

Shouldn’t the very activity that the invitee was being asked to partake in clue them in on the attitude of the inviter? An invitation to, say, a birthday party should signify a kind intention, with no need to declare said aim. An invitation to have your shin smacked with a ball-peen hammer would suggest another intention altogether, but should also need no declaration of intent. Right?

In general, he could no longer appreciate the niceties of human interaction, particularly of language.  This was not always the case; he remembered well a time when he felt more comfortable within the confines of normal social constructs. And, to be sure, he was well aware that he faked a grasp of these social rules quite well, as exhausting as that was.

Cordially. AKA Amicably. AKA With Kind Intention. 

Although he suspected that people invited each other to things all of the time without really wanting the other to come (was certain, as a matter of fact, that HE had been invited as such more often than not), he did wonder if anyone had ever been officially invited to an event “begrudgingly”?

You would almost have to admire that level of honesty.

“You are unenthusiastically invited. . . .”

“By utter necessity, your presence is requested . . .”

“Please (be unavailable to) join us for a celebration!”

He chuckled at the thought, and, again, the strange pang which had recently nagged at him, the one that was ill-defined but was something along the lines that he wished he had someone he could share this small joke with, hit him again.  Further, he had a vague but nagging desire that he would not always be prone to these side-alley excursions into human idiosyncrasies, would not always break down flaws in social interplay, suspecting that in his tendency to do so, he was creating for himself the perfect excuse to stay away from most nonessential interaction. His belief that everyone was faking it, not just him, was becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, of sorts.

If he were to allow himself to indulge in this new train of thought, he suspected he would discover that this was why, if anyone was destined to be begrudgingly invited to a party, it would be him.


He hovered his mouse pointer over the invite’s “Decline” option and began to depress the button.

Kindly, he thought to himself and chuckled again.

Sighing, and by an impulse he did not understand in the least, he shifted the mouse slightly and clicked the “Accept” button.

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