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Points for humanity

I was always taught that when you cross someone on the street — you greet them. Growing up in a teeny tiny town (+-3000 inhabitants) in what is already considered an outregion…that’s just how things were. Basic deceny. Not greeting a person was actually actively corrected.

I lost the skill when I moved cities to attend college. The town I ended up in was full of brusque and slightly permanently grumpy folk who looked at you quizzically if you were to greet them out loud. An acknowledging headnod was plenty sufficient, but not even expected.

Since moving to a similarly tiny town as I grew up in in April – I’ve slowly been getting back into the habit of greeting. The town I now live in is very heavily Christian (#biblebelt is what they call the region) but somehow — greeting around here is also seen as an oddity. At least, when I do it. I see old folk walking, greeting and striking conversations at every corner when I go for a walk. Yet when I provide the same courtesy….I get a look of amazement. I suppose they’re not expecting it from my generation.

And today — takes the cake. I almost killed an elderly woman with my greeting. Maybe a tad exaggerated but still. I crossed the street for said lady seeing as she was toting one of those rollerbags, not walking all that supple and we were both sans-mask (so I honored the social distancing by crossing the street).

But I did that friendly awkwardsmile, took my hand from my pocket for a slight wave and said a friendly hello. Apparently this behavior was SO odd that she wanted to turn towards me to…I dunno what for…and subsequently tripped on a slightly raised tile and crashed to the floor.

I had already continued on my merry way so I didn’t see the specifics but the crashing sounds had me turn to see the old dame crumpled on the ground.

I quickly donned the just-in-case-mask in my coatpocket to rush to her aid, helped the lady up and made sure she was ok (outside of a scraped knee, she was). 30 minutes, a cup of supermarketcoffee and two chocolate croissants later I was on my way again. And where this may have felt like an unusually awkward inconvenience to me-a-year-ago….this small human interaction during these strange times made me thankful for my upbringing again.

Not the part where greeting someone makes them fall down in surprise but the part where I was instilled with enough decency and caring to be able to ignore my gutinstincts of ‘look away and pretend you saw nothing so you can be superintrovert‘ and create meaningful interactions with people in a world that grows ever colder and forcedly distant.

It’s nice to connect with someone outside of my Zoom calls list.

27 thoughts on “Points for humanity

  1. Aw I feel bad the lady fell. But so sweet of you to help her! You’re right about the greetings nowadays. Most of my neighbors will greet other neighbors when we cross each other outside, but outside of my neighborhood it doesn’t happen anymore. So sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. First of All my Mother Said i Was Born With Open Arms to Every
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    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I remember watching old series like Call the Midwife where they’d just leave a child in a crib outside on the street while cleaning inside without any fears. Or bringing food over to neighbors without apparent reason. Mindbogling to someone from our current time, but not even a century ago that was a normal thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I also grew up where I was taught to be kind to others. I can’ say that the entire town was that way, but I try to remain that way no matter what others do. Honestly, some strangers can make it hard. They turn up their noses, look down, or turn their head in the opposite direction to act as if they didn’t hear you. Great job for helping the lady up. That was very kind of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad she was ok. Once people are on those things their bones can be very fragile. Thanks for sharing . Your right. City people more focused on where they are going.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This really resonates with me because evey culture has subcultures that have different norms. I’m trying to learn this now I’m in a new country! Btw, I fixed the link to my blog survey, so feel free to try again! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, having come from a country where drivers are inconsiderate of pedestrians, most of the time in Canada, drivers are a lot more respectful! I kid you not, this driver in a semi stopped for me at this difficult intersection!


  6. It is a shame that greeting people is no longer seen as normal in most places, it feels as if we have lost the sense of community we used to have toward one another. I am always surprised when someone says good morning or whatever to me, even within my own block of flats. But wouldn’t say it to any stranger because i’m scared some may adversely react.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely story, apart from the woman falling down! I was taught that manners are free. As a postman, I constantly interact with the public and give anyone a nod and a smile. I love it when strangers come up to me and thank me for doing a wonderful job, it makes my day, even after five rude prats just cut me off on the road, it always brings a smile to back to my face 😀


  8. It’s so hard to be friendly in these times. We wear masks everywhere and no one can see you smile. I usually flap a hand upwards in a hey there gesture now but it’s not the same. I’m glad the lady was not hurt!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I grew up in a small town too! Everyone waved to each other, even as we passed each other while driving. This tradition is imbedded in the deepest parts of my subconscious, and I have to say, it gets a little awkward when I’m jogging at the park and keep passing the same person again and again — I never know when it’s appropriate to ignore them or if I should keep waving or at least smile…it’s a regular conundrum for me lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. People nowadays already stopped with the social niceties. Now adding masks as a new norm it’s gotten even worse! It’s almost like masks are put on and people don’t know how to speak! Mouths are covered so my voice no longer works. Bizarre! So kind of you to break that mold and remind others of a little human decency!

    Liked by 1 person

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