As we strolled with Moxie down the sidewalk in our neighborhood, we saw a woman pushing a baby carriage toward us. I led Moxie to the grass alongside the sidewalk so the woman could have the whole sidewalk to be able to pass. When we got close enough, I smiled at her.
“Hello”, I said — still smiling.
She did not respond, smile — nothing. She didn’t even really look at me. She just kept going.
Now, of course this isn’t the first time a “hello” was wasted for me. But, it was the first time it happened here. Back in NY, I expected it. Years ago, I once worked in a place where you could walk by someone and say “good morning” and they would snub you so hard (especially if they were ‘higher’ than you), you felt it in your bones.
This woman on the suburban Illinois sidewalk was Indian, so I couldn’t help but wonder if her culture has something to do with it. I basically was hoping there was a “good” reason why she just coldly walked by us without any sort of acknowledgment. But, still — returning a “hello” is a basic human interaction, so I dismissed that thought almost immediately and chalked her up to just being a rude person.
At a very young age — by their parents and/or in Kindergarten, children are taught some pretty simple things. Say “please”, “thank you”, and “I’m sorry.” Be polite, respectful and DON’T IGNORE PEOPLE WHEN THEY SAY HELLO TO YOU.
Here’s a somewhat short list of simple Kindergarten manners I often see adults ‘forgetting’:
Cover your mouth when you sneeze and/or cough — especially in a public place, like a supermarket, for example. And in the produce section. Come on, people.
LISTEN and pay attention when people are talking to you — No one likes to repeat themselves because you’re tuning out and just smiling/nodding.
Chew with your mouth closed — Learn to breathe through your nose.
Wait your turn — To talk, to check out at the store, to be seated at a restaurant, to get on public transportation, etc.
Say “excuse me” — If you need to get by someone, or get someone’s attention, just say “excuse me” — do not wave your arms like a lunatic or just stand there with a scowl on your face until the person realizes you’re waiting for them. Use your words. True story: Just the other day, I saw a woman in her late 60s/early 70s waving her arms at a teenage supermarket employee to get his attention as he restocked the freezer, with his head down almost in the freezer. She just kept waving and shaking her head and I couldn’t take it anymore. I said, “Just say ‘excuse me'” to her. It worked.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?