I recently returned from a two-year stay on a warm, little island called Puerto Rico. Now when I say warm, I am not referring to the climate, but to the people. They are warm, warm-hearted. You couldn’t last minutes on the street without exchanging a great big smile and a cheerful, “?Buenos d?as!”
When I returned to SLC, I began saluting the passersby with a big “Hi!” I was quickly reminded that’s not the way things are done here. I missed exchanging greetings with people on the street. Such a simple little thing, but I really missed it. It seems like a lot of the people on campus have some kind of fixation on their feet. The math majors are counting their toes, the economics majors are calculating the opportunity cost of their shoes and the music majors are counting cadence in their step. The rest of the campus is playing “eye tag.” You ‘tag’ someone else by making momentary eye contact, then immediately looking the other way.
Why do we do this? It’s possible that the culture shock has toasted me, but I have this gut instinct that the rest of the student body will hear an echo in their own soul when I say that sometimes what I want most when I’m walking around campus is someone to walk with and talk to and get to know better. Isn’t the toe-counting and eye tag counterproductive to making friends? I have not been disappointed when I have opened my mouth to make a friend; and I can feel the difference between the days that I am open and friendly and the days that I’m not. I’m happier when I am.
So, heads up, big smiles and lots of hellos. Let me know where you’re at.