An interesting thing happens when we leave California - people are friendly. I don't mean your everyday California friendly. I mean, happy to have jobs no matter how menial, openly expressive, welcoming to strangers, curious about the people around them. They make eye contact. The girls noticed this on last fall's big adventure. One year later and in an economic world apart that observation still holds true.
Today, while refilling the van at the self-pay pump, a voice from the loudspeaker greeted me. I looked to the service window where the cashier gave me a smile. When I'd finished pumping, she sent me off with good wishes. She greeted each driver this way while I was there. In California, I pull up to the pump, swipe my card, pump and go without any interaction from an employee, let alone a pleasant greeting and farewell. Paying cash in California? The cashier typically couldn't care less, and certainly doesn't seem very happy to have her job.
Then it was off to the grocery store where the young man collecting carts in the parking lot greeted me with a smile and, "How're you?" As I approached the store, customers exiting looked each other (and me) in the eye, gave smiles or nods or other silent greetings. None of the avoidance I've grown so used to as a Californian.
No matter where I go here, I find people greeting each other, looking each other in the eye. My heart swells, a smile spreads across my face which can only help improve the next potential human interaction.
Are we so busy in California that we just can't do these simple things? Why is it so impersonal there? What's wrong with eye contact? Anyone? Anyone?
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