Just like everywhere else in the world, etiquette in North America is ever prevalent and superficial. Two people warmly hugged each other and kissed each other on the cheek. Then he turned around and said, “I don’t remember her name. I’ve only seen her once.” Not infrequently, you see two women acting so friendly to each other that you conclude they must be each other’s best friends until you hear what they say. “It’s so nice to see you! It has been such a long time! How are you doing?” They would have known how each other were doing if they were best friends, and they wouldn’t have waited for so long before seeing each other. Or maybe it hasn’t been a long time and it is not such a big deal to see each other after all. It’s just the etiquette.
People in North America claim that they don’t care so much about etiquette nowadays, but actually they care much more than they claim to. Greeting manners, eating manners, talking manners, dressing manners, even the manners for mourning death. You are supposed to feel sad in a standard way. You are supposed to say only good things about the deceased. Because that is the etiquette. But where is the honesty? Where is the sincerity? Why can’t we feel sad in our own way? Why do we have to cover our true feelings with etiquette?
She died. Everyone praised her highly. Everyone claimed to be her best friend. Everyone claimed to have loved her deeply. None of these was true for me. I was never her close friend. We were just about to be what I call “friends”. She might be a good singer, which I’m not able to judge, but she was not a good engineer. She often pretended to know everything when she knew only a little. She interrupted meetings and annoyed many people. She was trying so hard to prove herself that she had difficulties criticizing herself. Most of the time I knew her, I couldn’t put up with her. And she knew that. Still, she was a good person and a person with potential. She would have achieved a great deal if she had had a chance to grow. Unfortunately, all that is gone, with her annoyance and her potential… This is enough reason to feel sad. No space for made-up compliments.