Once, reading an email in which I was copied, I realized that reading took me longer than necessary for me to understand what it was about. The subject was even familiar, I was understanding the context reasonably well — new actions, associated with a project that was going on, that is, it made some sense, didn’t seem like a total mistake by the recipient. Anyway, I needed to know who had sent me that email, to even address my doubts and suggestions in an appropriate and more assertive way.
When I searched for the sender, everything became somewhat opaque: “Nine”. Nine… Who would be Nine? What department? The email signature did not have a first and last name, nor did it mention the sector in which the person worked. Just “Nine”. As a new employee, the email address didn’t help me with the mystery either. In the corporate world, we often become f.gomes, j.silva, g.andrade… And then it is almost impossible to associate username and face.
Next, I thought in English, because, you know, we are almost pure Americans. Not Latin Americans, just Americans. Nine = nine… “Who could number 9 be and why this riddle?” It must be some action linked to the series “Stranger Things”, I imagined. There’s Eleven, here’s Nine.
Finally, I asked a classmate at the stall, who, in a mixture of surprise and grace, replied: “It’s Jonine, the new girl from the Department. She wants to be called Nine.”
“What?” Bro, it’s okay for the person to prefer to be called by another name. But so? No association possibilities – no surname or related sector?
I remembered another case. There was Lais. A four letter name. But some people thought it was too much and preferred to call it “La”. There where? Unfold the idea now to “Ju”. There’s usually more than one wherever you go. “Which Ju? Souza or Domingues? Juliana, Juliane, Julia or Jussara?” If the idea was to make it easier, take a negative point.
My name is Fabiana, and several people call me Fabi. I refer to myself as Fabi many times. I think it’s good, sonorous, simple—two syllables, vowels that round off. But if I’m going to sign anything, I’ll put my last name later. After all, people need to know what Fabi is all about. Not infrequently, people I don’t have any intimacy with launch a “Fabizinha”. I’m 1.80m and I’m not that angel full of candor, which gives rise to a free diminutive like that… Besides, I’m talking about professional situations. At this point, we can already see that it is not even an economic issue, since Fabizinha takes longer to speak and write.
This is an affectionate reference. Hmmm… I’m aware that this is very common and natural here in our Brasilzão. That I’m being annoying and deluded, first because I imply, second because of the illusion that something like this is subject to change. As questioning, pondering and understanding slowly is always a good exercise to avoid mistakes and excesses, I ask: what could be behind this camaraderie? Of this “affection”?
In a professional situation, when something needs to be dealt with objectively, you’ll think more before saying anything that might hurt Fê’s feelings, sweetie from Marketing. The interactions lead you towards this forced and forged intimacy. Something curious, which goes in the opposite direction of the aseptic model and the high productive profitability preached and expected from the “employees”.
We still need to deal with the “peopleboíce” of the Brazilian. So, when you should be operating in the mode imposed by the neoliberal rhythm —production and total efficiency, the legend of Brazilian cordiality imposes itself (for those who haven’t heard about it or want to know more, take a look at the text “O Homem Cordial”, by Sergio Buarque de Holanda). Then you find yourself forced to operate between a few options: cynically, being called rude or thinking of an intricate way out that frees you from these paths.
Our cuteness and civility are such that we are not ashamed at all to leave the shopping cart in the middle of the aisle, getting in the way of the supermarket. We don’t care about using the backpack, as best suits us, without remembering that, if pah, there may be people back there carrying backpacks… What to say about the bags and bags glued to the body, which carry everything and everyone who may be in the way. Who has never taken a “borsada” in a bus or plane aisle? If only it came with a “sorry Fa”, go there. But that’s the limit of “good people” or “easy intimacy.” The lapada in the shoulder comes with the deepest ignorance of cordiality. Or would it be better to say that it comes with one not caring in the least about the presence of the other?