I’m still a hick.

So this morning, I was particularly delighted by an old man.  He said ‘hello’ to me and waved as we passed on the sidewalk.  True, he didn’t make eye contact as he passed, and didn’t really smile, but it was still exciting to me – I smiled and waved and said hello back.  See?  It’s nto so hard to be nice, even for cold New Englanders.  Maybe there’s hope for this dreary place after all.

Maybe it was because of the old guy that I noticed people being polite everywhere I went today.  Some mother on the bus said sorry when her bulky stroller was blocking my way, and another one said thank you when I held a door open for her. Some other girl let me get off the train in front of her.  Some guy said sorry when he crossed the sidewalk directly in front of me, cutting me off.  What’s up with that?  Where’s all the gruff coldness I’ve come to know and expect for my time in the icy north?

I guess a part of it is that I see what I expect.  I expect coldness, so I don’t notice when people are polite.  I’ve even caught myself being prickly towards others I don’t know since I’ve been here.  But I’m glad to know I haven’t been completely turned to the dark side.  I’m glad to know I still occasionally do the bumbly-friendly thing and smile broadly at complete strangers.  It’s warming.  I hope I don’t ever lose that.



  1. e'bess said,

    February 25, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Unrelated to this post, but – today one of my students is wearing a red “hanging with my gnomies” t-shirt. And this particular kid knows very little English, so it’s doubtful that he gets the joke. But it made me laugh and think of you, which is always a good way to start a Monday.

  2. sedgehammer said,

    February 25, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Ahh, the gnomies. The world loves them!

    PS – is this student Korean? Koreans and the ‘international language’ are in the news today. More to come.

  3. e'bess said,

    February 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    No, not Korean. I guess funny miniature men in pointed hats also have a universal appeal.

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