Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I realized recently that I am socially retarded. My crippling introversion makes me incapable of communicating with people that I am not already familiar with. When forcefully placed into a social situation (class for example) I will not say one word to anyone present unless a third party thrusts me into a conversation (i.e. introductions)
As such, I made a goal last week to say hello to the people I pass throughout my day. The first day was good. I had a wing-man; Dave and I made some 30 salutations to the nice freshman girls around the frisbee golf course (not ain't nothin' wrong with that...actually, there is something wrong with that), then I promptly forgot about the goal--until today.
It's amazing how much it catches people off guard when you throw them a casual "How ya' doin?" Four out of five times there is a visual startle as they reply "good." They think in their heads "who is this creeper?" and then slowly the barricades crumble down and there is a quaint smile that says, "you know what? I AM doin' good!"
I love America, but we as a people can be really messed up sometimes. We literally run every where we go, and the slightest unplanned distraction is met with disgust and contempt. Recently I sat in at a small town meeting where it was debated to remove a planned road in order to conserve the open space on a farmer's property. While the road was eventually removed, there were some present who voiced their concern on the extra sunday traffic they would experience as a result of one less route of exit.
Serious? Is it really worth dissecting gorgeous century-old farmland for the sole reason of getting home from church a minute faster?
But I digress. Americans are cold. In Brazil it was not uncommon for me to be greeted by a complete stranger with a hug or a kiss on the cheek (both innocent and not-so-innocent). We are over-focused, over-rushed, egotistical slobs, and no one more so than me. I have gone 5 weeks without saying so much as two words to the person who sits next to me every other day. That's why I'm trying to be better.
How are YOU doing today?