Let’s Do It In The Road
Not literally of course.
But this week, I read yet another article about things you should not do in public. Obvious stuff – like texting in a restaurant, letting your kids run wild in the grocery store, talking loudly at the movies.
I agreed with everything on the list.
But I thought it was a shame that all I read and hear is about the shit you shouldn’t do in public.
Someone should compile a list of shit you really should do in public.
I think it should be me.
Here’s a start:
Talk to strangers. OK, so maybe not if you are eight. But adult to adult? My husband always talks to the people in front and behind him in line at the supermarket. And everywhere really – at the post office, at the bank, at the gas pump. You know what he gets out of it? All his mindless, tedious errands have become opportunities to hear stories and make friends.
Share your table. A while ago, my husband and I went to a local restaurant and found it much busier than it usually is. We had to wait for a table. After several minutes, the couple ahead of us in line were seated. And so we figured that we’d be seated soon. But the couple turned back and came over to us. Their table could seat four. “Instead of waiting,” they said, “Why don’t you join us?” And we did. And we had a fabulous time. Interesting, smart and friendly conversation, instead of just boring same-old us.
Get the giggles. I certainly think that kids should be well-behaved in stores and restaurants. But they are still kids. There’s nothing I love more than to see them collapsing in hilarity. Join in. Laugh your ass off – loudly – in public – once in a while. The overwhelming majority of the people around you will instantly feel wonderful too. And for those few who don’t like it? Holy crap, who cares about those grouches?
Be a generous driver. I live in Connecticut, which is sort of a mecca for high-strung, stressed-out overachievers. (Sorry, Connecticut – I love you, but it’s true.) We are impatient worriers, with our minds always somewhere in the future, and it shows in much of what we do. We think we’re normal. A few years ago, I went on a business trip to Portland, Oregon. I had a rental car and a map (no reassuring, confident GPS voice). Trying to find my way around the city, I often found myself in the wrong lane – needing to turn at the light, or trying to get to the fast-approaching exit ramp. And, My God!, folks just stopped and let me into their lane. Over and over again. They weren’t shouting, “Damn Tourist!” No. They were smiling. “Over here, I’ll help you make a left turn from the right hand lane. No problem.” They made me feel less flustered about driving in a strange city. I came away loving that place and those kind people. And back here in nervous Connecticut, I let someone into my lane on a regular basis.
Go ahead, Dear. In a similar vein, let an old person check out ahead of you in the supermarket.Even if they are slow. Especially if they are slow. What’s your hurry, anyway?
Be opinionated. In a nice way. I always let my dressing-room neighbor know when I think she looks great. I don’t ever say she looks bad; or say she looks nice when she doesn’t. But when I see success – I say so. Salespeople have a vested interest in telling you that you look fabulous. But when a stranger loves what you are trying on – that’s sweet.
Show some PDA. Circling back to the title of this post, Let’s do it – a little bit anyway – in the road. I think we need to see a little more public displays of affection. How can we be okay with folks staring at their phones, but not with seeing them actually kiss other human beings? I am no voyeur, but I LIKE to see people kiss, and hug, and hold hands, and cuddle. And there are other, subtler shows of affection that are just plain heart-warming. Shirt-tail holding when navigating a crowd, for example. Or a hand tucked in a lover’s back pocket. So kiss a little in public. It may actually make you feel a little more loving in private.