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 —
- News Bloggers
Gary Church: Boy, I’d like to give my two cents to the lady in charge of the change tray
I'm cheap, but not real cheap. I was paying for something that came to $2.32. Sitting on the counter was one of those loose change trays, where you can drop some change in or take some out.
Tim Kolodziej: I never realized how popular I am
I’ve never realized how many people are thinking about me today. I’ve never realized how many people want what’s “best” for me.
The Couch Potato: Does ‘30’ rock? It’s only the best sitcom — ever
The Couch Potato has written about a lot of different television shows over the past months, hitting on great dramas, comedies and everything in between.
Gary Church: Hey, do they serve fries with that burrito?
I come from a long line of fussy eaters. My mother may have been the queen. When she made biscuits, she would spoon the center out, and eat only the outside of the biscuit.
Lisa Madras: Feeling stuck? It’s time to figure out why
Why are you where you are? Geez, if this isn't a loaded question, I don't know what is. This one is going to make up dig deep. Real deep. And before the digging even starts, we have to define what we mean by "where you are."
Gary Church: Mexican food, amazing bass and a private chat with Jen — can it get any better?
Did you ever have one of those weekends that you hated to see end? It all started Friday, when after 10 years of driving the same old car, I got a new one. I got a RAV4.
Tim Kolodziej: Heading in the right direction? We’ve got a ‘50-50’ shot
Ever drop a buck or two on the 50-50 at a high school football or basketball game? Life is a lot like that, you know. Sports, especially.
The Couch Potato: ‘Wheel’ and ‘Jeopardy’ like part of the family
There are few constants in life. The sun shining in the day, the moon glowing at night and beyond that, not much else can be counted on day in and day out.
Gary Church: I can’t roll with old certificate — but maybe I can still rock the mic
Did you ever have something in your closet, and you have no idea why? At the bottom of my casual shirt closet is a framed New Castle Service Star Legion Incorporation certificate.
Lisa Madras: We’re living, breathing question marks searching for answers
Why are we still asking ourselves questions?It's been a long time now that I've been writing this blog.There are times when I wonder when it will run its course — when my readers will lose interest in questions, when I will simply run out of questions to ask.
- More News Bloggers Headlines
- Gary Church: Boy, I’d like to give my two cents to the lady in charge of the change tray