As I marched out of the shopping centre this morning and approached the traffic lights, a young man in his twenties waiting next to me turned to me and our eyes met. He greeted me with a simple, ‘Morning! You good? How’s it going?’
This sounds nice enough when you read it, doesn’t it? One would think that the logical response from the other party (myself) would be to engage in simple conversation and reply. But I didn’t.
I feel revolting thinking about the interaction in retrospect, because I didn’t respond how I wish I had done. Looking back, I feel guilty. My immediate thought was, ‘GAH why are you hitting on me at 10am?!?!’ and then ‘Oh God, maybe he’s a nutter.’ That is me being brutally honest and it is embarassing that I thought those things instinctively, rather than, ‘oh, look at this nice guy just saying hello’.
I responded with a disinterested ,’Hi…yeah good…’ and then immediately turned in the other direction and awkwardly prayed that the traffic lights would change colour quickly so that I could walk away disgusted at myself for not being warmer towards a stranger.
It’s rare that I’m outstomped because I walk everywhere at the speed of light, but he raced on by and I watched as he stopped and had a chat with the Big Issue vendor and then a homeless man, before we parted ways and I turned the corner. He certainly wasn’t trying to hit on me and I don’t think he’s a nutter. I think he was just a nice guy with a beautiful, innocent soul and is trying to make the world a nicer place.
This guy won’t know the profound impact he’s had on me, but I carried on my walk home tormented with the knowing that so many of us are conditioned with one set of thoughts, but deep down have different beliefs that we resonate with. What I mean is, I am conditioned to believe that in cities, people just don’t talk to each other and if they do, they’re either insane or trying to assault you. What I ACTUALLY believe is that most people are good and kind and that assuming the worst in people makes you a part of the problem.
That guy put a smile on my face and he got me thinking. The world needs a plethora of people more like him and it is my personal goal to take a leaf out of his book. I also want to be more observant of how my conditioning and beliefs conflict in more aspects of my life and personal interactions. Next time – although it might take a few more practice rounds – I am determined I try to respond bright-eyed and full of hope.