Nonchalant means, “feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm.” It’s a word that always makes me wonder, what is “chalant” and why are we not doing it?
My husband the other day chided me, “will you please be nonchalant?” That is actually a big word for him, quite out of character so it caught my attention. Also, by nature I am often so nonchalant some people have called me a flat liner. Nonchalant on the outside only, I may well be descending into complete panic on the inside, but externally I am all about the nonchalant.
My husband and I have a funny symbiosis going on over the nonchalant. Sometimes he needs my reassuring calm and sometimes he needs my anxiety, emotion, and panic. It’s kind of cute, will you please panic now? This is a situation that calls for high anxiety and your lack of response is disturbing me. Than there are the times he can sense my inner hysteria, hence the reminder to be nonchalant and not disturb the peace he is trying to create for himself, and by extension the rest of us.
With perfect synchronicity, later that day someone else declared, “I wish you wouldn’t be so nonchalant!” Sheesh, you can’t please anyone..
I recently watched a highly entertaining video clip of the nonchalant in action. A shop keeper about be robbed by a man with a gun who he completely ignores, points the guy to the menu, and then proceeds to wait on other customers. The poor robber is simply dying of neglect as the shopkeeper totally ignores him and goes on to clean the counters and wait on customers. Eventually he just takes his gun and leaves, somewhat baffled by the lack of response.
It made me laugh! Now that’s how it’s done. You learn a lot in retail sales working with the general public. I think you go a bit numb, you lose your ability to respond to the antics of people. People are going to people and sometimes one must just ignore them and say, “next!”