Wednesday, November 5, 2008

hello already

I was at the grocery store yesterday and had this sudden feeling that I was in the set of Shawn of the Dead (without the gore, of course). It was if all these people were wandering around with absolutely dead-pan looks on their faces, walking the aisles mechanically.

I guess I try to engage people. I look them in the eye. I smile. I say "excuse me" or "pardon me" when walking in front of them while they're making a decision between the sundried tomato or mushroom spaghetti sauce. Rarely does anyone ever smile back, make eye contact, or even acknowledge that I have spoken to them.

Why is this? We're inches from each other, sharing the same space and activity, and they look like I have grown a second head and need to be put in a holding cell. Does it stem from years of being told, "don't talk to strangers?" Is it a West Coast thing? It's not like I'm trying to strike up a conversation or anything.

I get this on the street, too. Just say "hi" to a stranger and 9 times out of 10 they won't respond. I know I live in a big city, but, come on! I just really feel like this world would be a better place if we could give strangers a smile or a hello once in awhile. Just a few days after the biggest historical landmark in recent history where strangers were dancing in the street together, and we can't accept a strangers good tidings.

I'll keep doing it. Keep making myself look like a fool. But maybe I'll brighten someones day, too. I guess you never know.


Martha said...

You brightened my day, I am a greeter too.
I have the cross pollination blog post ready to email you, just have your yahoo address, do you want me to send it to another email? Please contact me, take care, hope all is well, thank you, Martha

Happy Not-So-Newlywed said...

Everyone says "hi" and smiles in Texas! It was actually really hard to get used to when we first moved here from California. Maybe it's just a southern thing?

Sarah said...

First, Shaun of the dead is my FAVORITE movie!! Love, love, love it!!

And second, I hate people for this exact reason. No manners, no sense of humility, no kindness just for the sake of kindness. Its ridiculous. I mean my 7 year old has far better manners and people skills than 98% of the adults I come into contact with.

Virginia said...

In the South you'll get pardon mes, smiles, let me help you with that, eye contact, questions about potential purchases and so much more. Sometimes when I'm grumpy, it's even hard to head to the grocery store for all the cheeriness I'll encounter! ;-) Keep it up though. Your pleasantries will become infectious. Good begets good!

Clio said...

how great that you are so friendly. When I had first moved to Chicago, I was surprised by how friendly people are here compared to where I come from. I guess you have to do it for yourself, without expecting the positive response, so when you get it, it's a big bonus. You are totally right you can brighten people's days and also being in a friendly mood just generally make your day better as well.

L said...

Sometimes when the weather is bad I notice that everyone is in a zombie-like state. Today we got snow, and it's definately the case today. Even my waitress at lunch didn't bother to look at me. There's somthing to be said about putting a little effort into being friendly. The world is definately a better place when people try.

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