I warmly recall walking through campgrounds and RV parks on family vacations in past years and without hesitation, saying hello to fellow campers or replying to their initiated greeting. There was always a positive unsuspicious response and perhaps even a brief conversation with a new friend. These days our usual daily outdoor recreation is often limited to walking the shore of Lake Elizabeth in Fremont’s Central Park where a widely diverse group of fellow strollers can be found. I still find it to be a warm and comforting experience to exchange greetings or a nod to strangers. Sandy is better at this than I am and she is frequently engaging in conversations in the aisles of Raley’s. During our theme park trips I enjoy seeing strangers greeting strangers in slow moving lines or when riding on trains or boats acknowledgment is evoked with waves to strangers.
In the rush and crush of today’s world of smart phones and electronic devices people seem to be less inclined to look up from the screens and make eye contact or to offer a greeting. We have become increasingly suspicious of others as intentional divisiveness at the highest-level leadership openly promotes the fear of those who are different than ourselves. And it’s not helpful that a bombardment of TV promotions and ads in our cable bills for security systems encourage us to fear of our neighbors.
A thoughtful greeting and acknowledgment of those around us certainly won’t solve the world’s problems, but it could be a small beginning. -Bill