I am old enough to recall not having a cell phone, computer, cable tv, color television and using a typewriter. I tell my kids how I would spend hours in the library to work on projects photocopying out of books and using their typewriters for reports. I used to have change in my pocket so I would have to call my Mom from a pay phone and check in.
I, like many of us have fallen into the habit of social media and electronic communications. I love social media as a business tool and to keep in touch with far-flung friends and family. The false comfort a cell phone brings to my relationship with my boys is one that I adore. BUT, I have realized there is much to be said for face to face communication.
I realized the other day that there are people in my normal routine that greet me with a friendly smile and hello. I respond and yet I don’t know their name. When did we stop introducing ourselves, exchanging pleasantries or shaking hands? I made a promise to myself yesterday to try to know those random people I see on a regular basis.
Today I started. The Red Eye Guy (as I have always thought of him) never fails to say good morning and usually has peppy quips he blurts out as he hands out the paper. This morning I stopped and said “Good Morning, you say hello everyday and I don’t know your name. May I ask your name?” He looked at me in between a deer in the headlights and a half smile and said “Keith”. I said “Nice to meet you Keith” and introduced my self and shook his hand.
It felt good, damn good. This man has spoken to me and has had more interaction with me than most of my relatives. I don’t know if it matters to him at all but I plan on continuing my experiment and plan to know the tribune guy, the security guards, the 7-11 dudes etc….I encourage you to do the same if you don’t already. I will still text my friends over a phone call but at least I will not forget how to comfortably walk up to a stranger and say hello.