There is a part of me that’s a real curmudgeon. Maybe it’s from living too long. Maybe my job in Human Resources dimmed my view of people. Or maybe I was born like this. This year I’ve been working on being nice. Sincere nice. To people! (I’m already super nice to anything on four legs.) It’s a lot of work. *bangs head on table*
An idle comment can spark someone up. Recently I had to get my driver’s license photo taken. We do it every four years here. It’s painful although the equipment they use is much better than it was 30 years ago. Maybe they have some of those fancy apps on it. When my turn came up I made it clear that I wanted a nice photo. My exact words were “How can we do this so I don’t look like an immigrant just off the turnip truck?” (No offense to any immigrant who happens to have a turnip truck.)
I thought that was a nice compromise of normal plus a tad of curmudgeon. The room full of folks waiting thought it was hilarious but the best reaction came from the woman manning the booth. She said (very seriously) I didn’t look like an immigrant and went on to tell me that her grandparents emigrated from Lithuania. From then on it was a waterfall of stories about their experience. I was fascinated since I recently followed the path my own grandparents took to come here.
By the time I left I felt sure I’d be invited over for Christmas Eve (still waiting for invite). The best part is that I didn’t change who I am. I didn’t put on a super perky fake smile (yeah I can do that). I just blathered on like I always do and I got lucky.
New gym is not super friendly. I don’t care. I’m not there to make friends but the time goes faster if there is a small amount of socialization. I’m looking for a sense of friendliness even if it’s just a facade. In fact, facade works best for me. I show up; work out; and spend a few minutes being nice. Easy peasy. No joint vacations or long-winded lunches.
At least 60% of the people there are the same age as I am and retired. (You can tell the old guys. They wear black socks and white hair.) The other 40% are young guys who don’t like to look middle-aged (I use that term loosely) women in the eye. I have worked hard to get eye contact and wish them a “good morning.” Some are reluctant. (Maybe I remind them of their high school principal.) Sometimes I get a broad smile and occasionally a response. (Remember these folks don’t communicate with words. They do it with texts so without a cell phone in my hand, they cannot “talk” to me. I wonder if they do sign language.)
Again, I didn’t have to change who I am although I did have to exert myself pre-coffee. That’s always a crap shoot as I’m a much nicer person afterward. Just ask my cats. And the beloved husband.
Do you have any communication stories to share?
Author’s note: Curmudgeon refers specifically to men but the feminine alternatives are old biddy and the very common “Bee-itch” neither of those work for me! I declaring curmudgeon a gender neutral term!
Thanks to Maxine my alter-ego for illustrating today.