It’s Easy, I Promise
A public plea for the resurrection of the simple things in life, like “Hello”
Waking up ready and alive is a skill I can’t seem to master. My morning routine includes:
One, the classic pillow-over-head maneuver to block out easterly sunshine.
Two, the struggle of conscience deciding whether or not to pull a Ferris Bueller and stay home sick.
Three, the wobbly rollover and stand up trick I learned from Bambi. I call it my trudging-from-bed-to-couch-during-which-I-barely-break-my-snooze haze. Needless to say, my indolent early morning performance is accompanied by an equally unpleasant persona.
I do eventually leave my cave each morning after reluctantly succumbing to the powerful pull of academia and participation grades.
As a natural hermit, I sympathize with those tempted to avert eye contact, sport headphones, or hide their eyes behind oversized hoods on their morning walk to class. Even after the morning gruff wears thin and I become perkier, I still sometimes would prefer to avoid acknowledging strangers and those acquaintances I’ve only met once. But now I won’t. I’ll say hello.
I spent my summer working in a country club where I spent most of my time surrounded by people outside my own 20-something collegiate bubble. I saw old-school men and women of my grandmother’s era, and I learned to appreciate some of their “old-school” mannerisms.
It wasn’t even just the older ones who would start chattering to me, a person identifiable to them only by a nametag, from 50 feet down the hallway. I grew accustomed to conversations with strangers that lasted only the length of a staircase climb but nonetheless brightened my day. It was a pleasant adjustment for someone like me who was accustomed to being around students who make awkward, mutual notice of each other and pretend to text or watch their feet instead of speaking.
Our generation’s lack of day-to-day friendliness would be incomprehensible — and frankly rude — to the people of our grandparents’ generation who surrounded me this summer. The simple things in life are what’s important to them, and one of those simple things is being genuinely kind to everyone, even strangers.
Greeting people is more than just a polite protocol. Showing eagerness to speak to someone demonstrates one’s kindness, happiness and confidence. So even though I may rather be elsewhere, hurriedly and sleepily getting to class, I say “Hi.” The people around me are worth the effort.