NEW CASTLE —
Why do we humans feel a compulsion to acknowledge other humans who happen across our path? Why do we feel it necessary to greet a total stranger if his or her eyes accidentally meet with ours?
There must be some uncontrollable part of our psyche that implores us to recognize the existence of others from our species. Something deep down in our primal nature that at one time protected us and the human herd.
There are so many ways to achieve this socially acceptable recognition. There is the simple head nod, that quick, yet non-committal, acknowledgment of the other person. It tells the other person, “Yes, I see you, but keep moving because I really don't have anything to say.”
For this reason it is, perhaps, my favorite non-greeting greeting.
Another favorite seems to be the cliché, “How are you doing?” Though we really don’t care, we feel compelled to ask how this person is doing. In addition, we don’t expect a real answer. If someone were to answer this question with anything other than the familiar “fine” or “good,” we would be taken aback by his or her answer.
I have had a little fun with this concept over the years. When the anticipated question comes, I try to answer with something unusual that deviates from the expected response. If I answer with “terrible,” the interrogator tends to raise an eyebrow. If I reply with “tired,” they always tend to agree and add some antidote about how tired they are or how they were kept awake until the wee hours last night.
In an effort to maintain some type of social norm, I tend to stray away from the answers like “itchy” or “suspicious.” Those just tend to draw odd stares from my unwitting test subjects.
Another example of this forced scenario is the large chain stores that feel it necessary to have somebody shout hello as soon as you walk through the door.
Moe’s is perhaps the worst offender with the “Welcome to Moe’s” shout. That is just down right startling. There are also the big-box-stores with their “greeters” or the office supply superstore that makes its employees say hello to every person who walks in the door. This does not lend itself to an aura of friendliness or harken back to the good ol’ days of personal attention that you receive from a neighborhood store. What great, corporate mega-mind thought that a cookie cutter greeting to every person who walks through the door would enhance the feeling of community?
I just want to get my groceries, burritos, or office supplies, and get out of here. I don’t want or need some teenager or senior citizen asking how I am doing because they are forced to do so in exchange for a paycheck.
Sometimes I wish these situations had a mute button or that I was able to ignore them like unwanted calls on my cell phone. But, if you are a friend, relative, co-worker, or even a complete stranger, and are able to engage with meaningful conversation, please do. I cherish the enlightenment that your point of view can offer.
And with that I say, “Later, dude.”
NEW CASTLE —
- Josh Drespling
Josh Drespling: The quest for antifreeze and horseradish in the land of Wally World
I was on a undeniable quest for horseradish and antifreeze. My auto had taken a turn for the worse as would be expected from any General Motors product of its age. This poor girl has 150,000 miles on her tired bolts and joints.
Josh Drespling: After first pitch is thrown, it’s a whole different ballgame for men, women
Hidden in the similarities is the vast expanse of differences. Despite the commonality of their emotions, bodies, and habitats, there lies a vast array of infinite deviations in form and function. Such is the relationship between men and women.
Josh Drespling: If it’s your property, is it your cross to bear?
There is a new house being built along one of the roads I travel every day on my way to and from work. It looks like it is going to be a very nice house. It has a beautiful brick exterior, three-car garage, and the back looks like it is open to an expansive wooded area. Prime spot for a nice, big deck, in my opinion.
Josh Drespling: Great ... now I’m the one who’s old, bald and fat
Many, many moons ago when I was but a wee lad, my friends and I made fun of some people. This mostly happened at church, of all places.
Josh Drespling: Daughter’s superhero is man of steal
I've stumbled across yet another conundrum in my life — I am a thief. It's not every day that you can make such a stark discovery about yourself, but when you have the innocence of a 7-year-old child relaying this information to you, you are best advised to take heed.
Josh Drespling: Despite what ‘they’ say, I’ll take my idols any day
“They,” in their infinite wisdom, say to never meet your heroes. “They” say that you will be greatly disappointed with the stark and complete reality of said person.
Josh Drespling: What if you could travel back in time?
Have you ever encountered a point in your life where you dreamed about having the ability to travel in time? Whether it be in a clunky machine filled with levers, whistles, and buttons or something sleek, the concept is remains the same.
Josh Drespling: Winter offers some cool, compelling reasons to stick around
Don’t hate me because I'm beautiful. Though I am powerful and unpredictable, I have unjustly received a bad reputation over the course of time.
Josh Drespling: That great idea? Aw, maybe I’ll just sleep on it
I will do it tomorrow. How many times have you laid in bed, snuggled up with that warm, fuzzy blanket and your head resting on the cold side of the pillow when an amazing, perhaps earth-shattering thought pounces to the forefront of your mind?
Josh Drespling: If you can’t take the heat — get outta my car!
I've found that my body really can't tell the difference between 4 degrees above zero and 10 below. You may wonder how I know such a weird fact about myself. It is quite simple. The heater in my car has not worked since late last spring.
- More Josh Drespling Headlines
- Josh Drespling: The quest for antifreeze and horseradish in the land of Wally World