As a general rule I usually smile at people I don’t know, compliment someone if it seems appropriate, talk to another Shopper, or to the Wait Staff, Security Guards, whomever. It drives my children crazy. Taking a page out of my friend Karen’s book…‘Now that I know something could embarrass them, I may tend to do it more.’ Remember going with Morgan to the airport Karen? Hillbilly style! That’s another story.
Now, do I always smile at people? No. In fact when I went to the Mall today I had a bit of a giggle. Yep, right there in the middle of the Mall, I’m smirking to myself. Kind of like when I shop for cards. I could shop for cards for hours…and laugh…and people look at me…some laugh, others walk away rather quickly. (WOW! That was a BIG squirrel I just saw. I went right onto a rabbit trail there, sorry.)…back to my story:
There were a variety of Kiosks set up down the middle of the Mall aisles. Suddenly I was hit with this memory of Bethany and myself going to Market in Vancouver where businesses purchase product. Oh My Dog! It didn’t take us long to learn…Do Not Make Eye Contact with the Sellers. Man, oh man, they will suck you in and pretty soon you have purchased a 10 gallon barrel of the best dead sea salt hand cleaner/softener; which by the way, I was fairly disgusted to see all the dirt left on my hands just after I had washed. Yes, I got caught. And Bethany? She was no where to be seen. She pretty much shoved me right under the bus. I did manage to make my exit after about the 5th time of graciously refusing this remarkable life-changing product, but only after saying I had to go as my daughter was waiting for me. Which was not a lie; she was waiting for me…around the corner…hiding…behind a pillar.
I remember being at the Airport one time, making my way to the washroom, when I ‘spotted’ a kiosk. And sure enough a handsome young man was selling skin care products. Unfortunately at the moment I ‘spotted’ him, he caught my eye and said to me in his sultry, foreign accent, “There you are my dear! I’ve been waiting for you!” For a moment I was speechless – which in itself is odd – and then realized what was happening. My response was, “Ohhhh, you’re good. That was smooth, very smooth.” I didn’t buy any skincare that day, but I did smile at him and his approach. On the way back from the washroom…I went waaaaayyyyy around.
Why are we so adverse to actually, physically ‘talking’ to another person? Heck, I do it myself; I’m ecstatic when I get an answering machine, which hardly anyone owns anymore. In this day and age of instant information and social media where we are supposedly being ‘social’ by staring at our phones or ipad, or a computer as you and I are presently doing, we often neglect ‘real life’ contact with people.
I can think of a few reasons why I’m like this, and there are probably hundreds more. But here are four: First, I’m selfish with my time. Why? Probably because I am a goal-setter, a goal-keeper, a goal-maker. I try to cram as much as I can into my waking hours. Second, I’m tired from all that cramming! It’s not just goals, or projects, but all the ‘other stuff’ we do. We have work, the kids, the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping. It all takes a toll. Thirdly, I’m reluctant to be vulnerable. Talking with someone, really talking with someone, may mean they get to know me; my strengths along with my weaknesses. Maybe they will find out things about me that I thought I had hidden oh so well. And, fourth; some of us are introverts. Yes, introverts. I’m one. I know a lot of my friends will say, “No you’re not!” But yes, yes I am. I like people, I truly, truly, do. But I have learned spending time with people takes energy. And spending time with certain people takes even more energy. Introverts need alone time to regroup and recharge, so if this is one of your friends, remember that. They may just need time to themselves. Now all my friends reading this are going to wonder if they are ‘the ones that take more time’. No, you don’t. I love spending time with my friends – because it’s always filled with laughter and love.
I do know for the most part, I find a great deal of satisfaction in chatting with total strangers. The satisfaction is giving another person an unexpected pleasure. One lady and I talked about hair barrettes in Ardene’s one day for 20 minutes! She was so sweet. We talked about how certain barrettes stick in our hair and it hurts like crazy when you go to take them out. We both have thick, curly hair. In the end, I helped her find just the right barrette. Another day in Superstore, the Security Guard and I had quite a conversation regarding his schooling and we talked about what moving to a new country is like. I told him it amazed me the sacrifices he made. Conversations like this also make me more compassionate to other people and their lives. If I see a woman wearing a very smart outfit, I am not shy in telling her how gorgeous it is and then asking her where she got it. In doin so, I hope I make her feel good about herself. Connecting, brightening someone’s day gives me enormous, instant satisfaction. All these simple gestures take nothing but a little time and can mean a great deal to someone else.
I will share one more story about talking with a Waiter we had one time. The kids and I had gone to a restaurant for supper and this young man serving us totally looked like ‘Luke Skywalker’. You know, Mark Hamill? I said this to my kids, and they agreed, and then I said, ‘I should ask him if he ever gets told that’. The horror, the sheer blazing horror on their faces. “Mom, no, don’t mom, please mom”. The begging, ohhhhhh, the begging. So I did the only thing I could, and I asked him. 🙂 And sure enough, he had been told he looked like Luke Skywalker. He smiled, and laughed, and I prided myself in being right…but, unbeknownst to me, Curtis, my middle child, my first born son, a light in my life, my helper to everyone…is sitting in his chair, with his head slightly tilted back, with has hand made into a ‘pistol’, gesturing a ‘shoot me now’ reference to himself. Ahhhh, the many blessings and honours one gets as a parent…to embarrass your child.
‘Just A Little Something’ to think about, to brighten your day, and someone else’s.