i hate saying goodbye.
it's never something that seems to happen gracefully. it always seems to be marked by awkward gestures and broken sentences that strive, but always fail, to encapsulate all that proceeded. so we lower our expectations and try to convince ourselves that we are content with a hug/back pat combo, and some trite cliches.
i have a feeling that's what tonight will look like.
to be fair, we've been saying goodbye for a couple of years now, as things have obviously changed in our relationship. but we've hung on, hoping that something might change, might click and make things different. still, just because we've had a couple of years to prepare doesn't make this any easier. if anything, the slow and inevitable glacier-crawl of this goodbye has made it more difficult.
regardless, however difficult it may be, tonight is time to say goodbye. at 9:00 we will say goodbye to what was, for several years, my favorite television show. gosh, just writing that sounds stupid, but, like every human being before me, i am connected to story in deep and profound ways, and to the characters that help tell those stories. so tonight isn't so much a goodbye to a tv program, complete with commercials and product placement. rather, it is a goodbye to some of my friends. it is goodbye to jim and pam, to erin and oscar and dwight and toby, and many more.
since starting in 2005, the office has been must-see-TV in our house. 2005 was the year my oldest son was born, which helps explain to me why it feels like i am losing part of my family tonight. how will i experience vicarious awkwardness that causes me to laugh nervously and sweat profusely anymore?
but i will do my best to offer my most awkward lean-in hug and poorly-worded goodbyes possible.
dwight, i will miss your ugly shirt/tie combinations, your over-zealous commitment to management, and your desperate, misguided attempts at acceptance.
oscar, i will miss your snotty elitism, and your exasperated sighs at your coworkers.
erin, i will miss your cluelessness, your innocence, your musical projects, and your utter ineptitude.
meredith, i will miss your sarcasm. that's about it.
angela, i will miss your holier-than-thou hypocrisy, and your secret life as crazy cat woman. also, i will miss your little work breaks with dwight in the warehouse.
toby, i will miss your crazy passion for local murder trials. i will miss the quiet way you took the constant barrage of hits life gave you, and how you just hung in there through it. and i will miss the pathetic way you failed to act on your dreams. i'm hoping for better things for you in the future.
kevin, i will miss your idiocy, your childlikeness, your childishness, and your smelly feet.
stanley, i will miss your detachment. i will miss your crossword puzzle addiction, your love of pretzel day, and the way you stood up for yourself in an office blanketed by ignorance.
creed, you are weird. i'm not sure i'm really going to miss you. at all.
michael, i've been missing you for two years. i really hope to see you tonight. i wish you the best and that, most of all, you are loved.
andy, i will miss your music. i will miss your hare-brained ideas. i will miss your anger issues, your desperate attempts for attention, and your misguided self-awareness.
jim and pam, i will miss you most of all. to be honest, you two are the only reason i've continued hanging out with the whole gang these last two years. i've been pulling for you like crazy, as i have since i first knew you. i know that life hasn't turned out for you exactly the way you thought it might, but i admire the way you've hung in there, for better and for worse, and have embraced these new challenges as part of your story. i will miss your playfulness, the way you antagonized dwight, and the way you brought a genuine kind of humanity to the office. i have no idea what your story is going to show me tonight, but, whatever happens, just know that i'm pulling for you.
(insert awkward half-hug here).
and, at around 10:00 tonight i will walk away. sadly. probably awkwardly. but that will be fitting for a show that so clearly shined the light on all the awkward moments that mark our lives together, whether at work or play, at the office or at home. ultimately, as the show made clear, what really matters is the relationships we make, even if the people we make them with are different, ignorant, hurt, hiding, afraid, desperate, or crushingly lonely. these people who may seem like the "extras" in the story of our lives, are really all an important part of our story.