February 22, 2009

on the common thread...

I think the world would be a better place if we all would just try harder to relate to each other. There is some sort of common thread in all of us, when you really stop to think about it.

There's someone out there who is singing your favorite song, someone with your same birthday, someone who has the same hopes and dreams, someone with the same fears, someone who picked out the same shirt to wear today, someone who had a great day and can't wait to tell somebody about it, someone with a secret, someone who is in love, or not.

Some of my favorite moments are when a bunch of strangers are brought together in some way or another. Like when you're standing in line with your groceries, and there is a cute baby making faces or being generally adorable. The people around you meet your eyes and you share a smile. Maybe even a few words. You're connected. You don't know each other, you probably won't see each other again, but for a moment you were two people sharing something. Those are the best moments. I feel better about the state of the world when I'm able to feel like we're connected in some way or another. I love feeling like I'm not just walking through my day without seeing anyone around me. Or being unseen, for that matter.

I wonder how we've reached a point where we don't even know our own neighbors, for the most part. We feel unsafe and cynical and suspicious. That, or we just don't care. Or even notice.

Someday I want to live somewhere I feel noticed, where I feel seen, where I feel safe enough to keep my door unlocked when I'm home in broad daylight. I want to be able to count on the kindness of strangers. I want to feel like I'm a part of a neighborhood, a community. I want to not be surprised when a stranger takes the time to say, "Bless you!" when I sneeze. I want people to smile back when I smile at them. I don't think it should just be the older generation of people nodding at you and wishing you, "Good morning," when you walk past them on your way to get your morning coffee.

I think that once I actually told someone, "I do want to go where everybody knows my name!" They may have judged me for a moment (simply because I was apparently quite seriously considering the Cheers theme song as my own, personal mantra) but I'm sure that they felt the same way. I think we all do, actually. It's human nature to want to be somewhere and feel like you belong.

What would the world be like if we all focused more on those moments of friendliness towards strangers? What would the difference be if we all decided to make more of an effort to connect with those around us? How many more smiles would be passed along if we decided to smile at everyone whose eyes met ours? What if random acts of kindness were less random and more common?

I think I would be okay with that.

26 comments :

  1. Your blog posts always remind me of rainbows and fairies. You know, fluff.

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  2. you're so right. i wish i knew my neighbors. all i know is that they are cranky old people that knock our bird feeders out of the tree. but maybe they were nice once?

    i want to have a regular bar where i don't even have to say what i want to drink, some hunky bartender just puts it down in front of me as soon as my butt hits the bar stool.

    i think if everyone was just a teensy bit nicer to passers by, the world would be a better place.

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  3. Dear Anonymous,
    Your blog posts always remind me of SUCK.
    Love,
    a wishcake fan

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  4. This is one of the biggest reasons that I love living where I do. People say hello on the street, there are businesses close by & I've chatted with the owners, I know that at certain times in the day I'll see certain people. People know my grandfather and my Dad & aunt, and introduce themselves as friends.

    As a result? It's the most up and coming neighborhood in the city. Suburbs - where there are no businesses, rules against hanging your laundry up to dry outside, and everything is designed for cars - are over rated. They don't give us any chance to connect with each other. Give me a city neighbourhood any day.

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  5. That's a plus of living in the south. Everyone, including my generation, nods and wishes you a good day. Everyone knows your name... It can be a downside too.

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  6. I completely know what you mean, I would love that too. I live in the suburbs, and my mom and I would always talk about how frustrating it was living right next door to people and still knowing nothing about them. It's a shame, really.
    And- for the record? You're blog isn't fluff. You're blog is incredibly fresh and optimistic and makes me think about things instead of just forgetting about the post immediately after reading it. So, shut up anonymous commenters! Keep writing just how you do :)

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  7. I totally live in "that type of city." The town I live in is small and most everyone DOES know your name. But it does have it's highs and lows. For example.. everyone knows your family, knows you, or knows of you. It is worth it to feel somewhat safe.

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  8. I have some of that, and I want more! I don't think you can ever have enough. One of the things I love about having the pups is that we get to see the same people with their dogs on walks on a regular basis. There is something so lovely about commiserating about the cold or rain or sharing the joy of a beautiful day!

    PS-This is pretty darn far removed from fluff. For every one person who chooses to waste time writing something negative, you make dozens smile!

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  9. i've thought about those things too. we've lived in our house for over 6 months and barely know the people we live around- i guess i should be the one to make the effort!

    haha, thanks for getting the Cheers theme song in my head..."making your way in the world today takes everything you got..."

    oh boy...

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  10. I liked this post. It makes a lot of sense. And made me want to try a little harder to make a connection or connections with people. I grew up in a close knit neighbourhood, with lots of kids and games played by all in the evenings. When I visit, there's always waves and chats to be had. Somehow I've moved away from making an effort and this just reminded me that I miss it.

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  11. love it! i was just thinking about the whole, "good morning" thing and smiling at people. some people dont smile. some people dont say anything. but thats ok, because i make the effort. it makes me feel alot better and happier.
    and i agree, this is not fluff.
    i didnt hear a mention of fairies or rainbows.
    and if some people view it as fluff, then i LOVE fluff.
    =D
    have a great day and stay optimistic.

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  12. I could not agree with this post more. I live in NYC and i feel so disconnected with the world. I have NO CLUE who lives in my apartment building, even next door. Sometimes I'll see them and we'll say hi or talk about how we're having lock problems again but thats the extent. I probably couldn't even RECOGNIZE them if i passed them on the street. And this saddens me.

    I love that Cheers mantra though :)

    And to the anonymous poster, i think he/she needs to get off their pessimistic horse.

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  13. Okay so maybe I'm crazy but I like the anonymity of where I live and where we do our shopping. I don't have to worry about running into someone at Target when I'm not wearing makeup, or even worse, someone I don't like. But maybe that's the antisocial part of me.

    We actually live in a tiny town, but it's a tiny town full of old people. Old people who are prejudiced against young people. Seriously I think they assume we are crazy partiers. Wouldn't they be disappointed if they knew that I spent an entire weekend doing a puzzle? Really I have no clue how to woo old people.

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  14. This is so true. I think living in southern California, especially, where we lack small towns, there is a feeling of disconnect. There is nothing better than feeling connected with those around you, and when that connection is made, it's bliss.

    We have a bar we go to Orange where they DO know your name, and even if they don't, everyone is so nice to everyone. If there are no empty tables, you're welcome to sit with strangers, who will quickly become your friends. It is obviously because of the owners that this atmosphere exists, so I think it's up to individual people to make this effort to break down the walls of disconnect.

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  15. I love this post. This is why I love being from a small town. We can even leave our door unlocked when we're not home. People say hello. And if I am out walking and it starts to rain, there are always 2 or 3 people who will stop and ask if I need a ride.

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  16. This post makes me happy to read. And I will re-read it many times. Thank you!

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  17. i totally agree. i feel like these things (saying hello, knowing your neighbors, feeling connected) contribute to your general well being without you even knowing it. it's a shame that they're so hard to come by...

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  19. I can so much relate to that post, I wish the world were a friendlier place, too.
    I sometimes take the time to smile at people, to say hello, to add another face to a stranger's day.

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  20. Once again, you speak an all too familiar feeling of my own. I hate being suspicious of neighbors because we don't know them. It's such a horrible feeling. It just sucks that this world has come to a place where you really can't leave your door unlocked or go without pepper spray, or walk to your car alone at night. I feel like being young, small, and a woman, that I am very vulnerable to all of these things, and so I'm wary. I'm cautious. It's a horrible way to live because I'm so loving and want to trust everyone and although I do not judge, I just don't fully trust until it's proven. (And what's even more scary is that sometimes the ones you trust the most are the ones that do you wrong.) ANYWAYS man, back to your rainbows, fairies, and fluff! Didn't mean to de-happy this blog. I totally agree with you in every way on this, and now I have that song stuck in my head. Thank you. Haha :) <3

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  21. I am in agreement so, so much.

    Honestly, things were like that when I lived in the south. People were all super friendly and made eye contact just to smile at you if you were passing them in the aisles at Target. Once I moved to Florida that changed and now I get nervous and awkward talking or smiling at strangers, because it's not met with that same smile or nod that I was used to. Living in South Carolina or Alabama you always got to know your waitress and had a much better time for it, here the waitress just sort of drops off your food...and then everyone looks at me funny every time I say "thank you" when they refill my drink.

    Funny how culturally these things are so different going from place to place, and I definitely think you are right, it would be so much better if everyone just looked on each other as more like us than strange to us. :)

    You're awesome. ;)

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  22. i agree. connecting with strangers like that just makes me feel good.

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  23. Seeking this connection is exactly why I do three things:

    1. Read books.
    2. Listen to music.
    3. Blog.

    Because when I do those three things, occasionally, I'll come across something that makes me say, "Oh, my God. That's EXACTLY what it is! And I'm not alone."

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  24. I am in agreement with that. Thank for posting your heart in here. Is good to know that there are women who still want to belive. I really would like to live in a safe place, my country is not that kind. But I still belive.

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  25. Dear Anonymous : your stupid post comment reminds me this quote: "Envy is the tribute that mediocrity pays to talent".

    have a great day.

    a wishcake fan.

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