Observations on being nice

Something has happened to me a few times in the last few days.  Something that has left me perplexed and a bit disturbed.  It is my normal practice to treat people the way I want to be treated.  That is what I was taught from infancy, an example set by my marvelous parents.  Whether it was passed down from their parents (which I know it was – my grandparents were just as awesome) or part of the Southern/Texan heritage I am so proud of, I don't know.  I just know that it is embedded deep in the fibers of my being.  To be pleasant, courteous or at minimal civil to everyone I deal with.  Do I always succeed – no, we all have our really. really bad days, but the good ones occur significantly more often.

I have noticed more often, recently and especially in the last few days, a difference in my interactions with sales clerks and other service providers – fast food servers and store clerks in particular.  Today for example, I was at the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant (yes, I know it is very bad for me, but sometimes, you are just in that much of a hurry), the server took my order through the little speaker board.  She politely repeated my order to make sure she had it correct, gave me the cost, thanked me and told me to have a nice day.  My response, which is what I generally say to everyone in this situation, was to say "Thank you and you have a nice day".  She responded with "thank you", but it was in a flustered, surprised tone.  I then pulled up to the window to pick-up my order.  Again, the window server was polite, handed me my order and thanked me.  Again, I said "Thank you and have a nice day".  Again, the server was a bit taken aback. 

On the drive back to my office, it occurred to me that this has happened to me several times in the last few days.  I was courteous and polite to someone waiting on me ( just recently, a store clerk, a waitress, a fast food server, a customer service rep with a major cell phone provider).  All of whom were at minimum polite and courteous, some who were downright friendly.  I treated them as I would anyone else and they were surprised and grateful.  I know we complain often about the poor rude service we receive, but do we really stop and think about how many there are of those people in comparision to the total number of service providers we interact with on a daily basis.   Have we also stopped and thought about how we treat these people?  How often do we take an unconcious attitude of superiority?  Or maybe more accurately, indifference.  A "these people are here to wait on me so they should be the one nice to me, not me to them" type of attitude.

It is both disturbing and perplexing that someone waiting on me should be surprised and so grateful that I was nice to them.  When did our society get to a point that it is not a normal practice for everyone to be nice or at least polite?  In my eyes (and in my heart), it is the way it should be.  So I send you out with this reminder, we are all human, we have extraordinary strengths and foibles. The young man serving your fries or checking you out at the grocery store may be a math whiz.  The girl working at the local discount store stocking shelves may be supporting her family working 3 jobs.  Don't these people deserve the same courtesy we extend to everyone else in our lives?  Of course they do.  And maybe, just maybe, if we start treating them a little better, they will start treating us a little better.  The old theory that a smile gets passed on.  Smile, say "thank you and have a really great day" to the barrista fixing your coffee tomorrow morning, then step away and watch how they treat the next customer.  There will be a difference.  There may only be a subtle difference, but there will be one.  And for each smile and courtesy that gets passed on, several people's days get brighter and the circle continues.

So to all of you, I say "Thank you", "you are welcome" and "have a great day" and am leaving you with a smile.  It made me feel better, I hope it made you feel better too.  

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Hot Chocolate as life

"Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. I n most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor chan ge the quality of life have.  Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don't have th e best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.    Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.

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True Friendship – Sort of my way

Okay guys, this one is more like me…
True Friendship"
(With none of that Sissy Crap!!!!)

Are you tired of those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality?

Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.

You will see no cutesy little smiley faces on this card-

just the stone cold truth of our friendship.

1 When you are sad
— I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you that way.

2. When you are blue
— I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile
— I will know you finally got laid.  
4. When you are scared
— I will rag on you about it every chance I get. 
5. When you are worr ied
— I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining. 
6. When you are confused
— I will use little words.  

7. When you are sick — Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want to catch whatever you have.
8. When you fall — I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

9. This is my oath…..
I pledge it to the end. "Why?" you may ask ,  "Because you are my friend".
Friendship is like peeing your pants: everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

 And remember …. when life hands you Lemons, get some tequila and salt and call me.

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One of the reasons Twitter has become such a huge part of my life

This is a great post from Laura Fitton at Pistachio Consulting, Inc.  I am privileged to have her as part of my Twitter "village".

Twitter is my Village

Posted by Laura Fitton under Twitter , social media

For me, connecting on Twitter with someone I’ve just met in person is inviting them to live in “my village.” Follow-up won’t be limited to the “nice meeting you” email cul-de-sac. On Twitter, we’ll cross paths incidentally and without pressure. I may bump into them “around town” for maybe a word or two at the “coffee shop” or “post office.” Over time we may discover common interests (aka social objects) in each others’ tweets, and connect more deeply as neighbors or friends.

For a contrived, weird and techy way to communicate, Twitter’s “passive conversation” fosters very natural, gradual relationship-building. I explained about the village to Dan Bricklin, who immediately connected it to the chapter on “taming” and the Fox in The Little Prince.

The Village Mind
New to Twitter, it makes no sense. Post 140 characters into the ether? Stare at the public timeline’s chaos washing over me? Why the h…?

How does Twitter shift from idiotic to amazing? It takes a village – a critical mass of interesting people – to read and write to. When my brain started to connect with the brains (and hearts) of others, it got really, REALLY cool for me. You may be looking for like minds, or you may want to be totally shaken up by new ideas. Both work. One day I suddenly realized this was, for me, tribe-finding. For arguably the first time in my life I didn’t feel as weird and different.

Everyone connects to a different array of tweets and tweeters, so there aren’t discrete villages per se. But, the degrees of separation and connection create layers around each individual that hint at a very sketchy (and Twitter-specific) “social map.” (Often highly removed from who you actually know).

The Village Heart
Right in “my” own village (yours too?) @susanreynolds‘ breast cancer fight and the Frozen Pea Fund bubbled up as a lovely grassroots social movement to rally around and raise support for one of our own. (If you missed it, the story is in today’s Washington Post.) With Twitter though, the “village” feel of intimacy is profoundly global. Her story’s been blogged hundreds of times including Scoble, Loic, TechCrunch and even a link on the BBC home page.

This week in a nearby village, a car crash stole well-loved young mother. Ashley D. Spencer left behind baby Lucy (2 months old), toddler “Sproglet” and her loving husband. She’d shared her pregnancy on Twitter as @ashpreggo, switched to @AshDMama after baby Lucy’s birth and is the only person I know of who permanently added PEA to her Twitter ID in honor of @susanreynolds. She died, tragically, and FAR too young, as @AshPEAMama. Ashley once sent me this hearty laughter on a very dark day. In her village, her humor and caring touched many lives deeply.

And so our eccentric archipelago of Twitter villages is mourning, and struggling to try to help Ashley’s family. @Mosqueda set up this memorial fund to help with funeral expenses and childcare.

If you’re not on Twitter yet, I don’t blame you if all this seems unrealistic or hyped. But lives and communities are changing, profoundly, over here in this funky little Twecosystem the guys from Obvious built. You might want take a look sometime. I’ll probably see you in the coffee shop.

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The promise of a bright day

The promise of a bright day
Originally uploaded by glokbell

I took this photo on my way into work on Jan 3rd. There was something about the sky that morning that said this would be not only a good day, but a good year. So each day, I look at this picture and remember the promise that morning held. It has changed my attitude when I could not imagine that things would ever be better.
The promise delivered by the sunlight coming through those clouds that morning convinced me that my life will change for the better. In this first week of this new year, I've also learned this day, this year, this life, this promise will not come about without an effort, a push, a solid knowledge and belief that only I can make these things happen. It is my attitude, my desire, my passion and my ambition that will make this a better year. That I will reach my goals and have my desires. So on I go with the promise this sunrise brought and making each day begin with that same promising future.

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