So Long, Farewell

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Well marked exit signs at the Deutsche Bank building in lower Manhattan where there are only a few stories left to demolish. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Do we short-change good-byes to start anew? MacArthur prize-winning sociologist and Harvard education professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot asks this question in her new book Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free, as she explores how we leave one thing and move on to the next.


Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
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Comments [4]

JD from Upper West

When I was fresh out of college and looking for a job here in the city, I got up to leave an interview, dressed in suit and heels, but my foot had fallen asleep and I stumbled quite ungracefully out of the office. No, I didn't get the job. John Cleese did...

Jun. 05 2012 12:05 PM
Susan from Upper West Side

When I was in Peace Corps in Zaire (now back to Congo) we made up the term the Zairian goodbye. Air Zaire (which we called Air Peut Etre) was very dysfunctional. Flights were cancelled all the time. So the Zairian goodbye was when you hung out at the airport sucking down beers until the person boarded the plane. Then the next day the person shows up at your house because they were kicked off the plane after they boarded because it was overbooked and they didn't count numbers before boarding or flew to where they were supposed to go but couldn't land and so returned. Basically, kept saying goodbye over and over again until finally the person actually got on the plane, reached their destination and could disembark. It sometimes took weeks!! Haha

Jun. 05 2012 12:01 PM
RJ from prospect hts

My first doctor for a chronic illness, from when I was 10 years old, was getting older, clearly working less and seeing fewer patients. When I was in my early 30s I found a new doctor, and he was quite gracious when I spoke to him, complimentary about my new doc. But his nurse was ... unbelievable. When I called for my records, she attacked me for "leaving" him, that it made him feel old, and I had some nerve. I was floored, had no idea how to react--and never got my records.

Jun. 05 2012 11:56 AM

What does Prof. Lawrence-Lightfoot think of 1) the limbo of Facebook 'friendships,' relationships that are utterly dormant yet never conclude, 2) the dear-John letter which, while not quite graceful perhaps, can at least offer definitive closure?

Jun. 05 2012 11:50 AM

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