Saturday, March 2, 2013

smiles, pleasantries, and a car wash: how to make my day *slash* I love when people are nice to me

{{See also: The Little Things}}
Dress: Dear Creatures// Cardi: so old, don't remember// Tights, pumps: ModCloth// Bag: F21 (also old)
These were taken yesterday, Friday. It's a day worthy of mention since people, strangers essentially, were just so nice to me. I mean, nice enough to boggle my mind multiple times as I was running my errands. (Northern New Jersey/NYC area aren't exactly known for being hospitable--not to say they never are.) For a second, it felt like my birthday and the niceties were obligatory or something. But nope, I wasn't wearing a Little Mermaid tiara and there wasn't a five dollar bill pinned to my dress to initiate a followup of even larger bills (why do I forget to try this out every year?). People were just in a good mood, in this rat race "I'm too busy to even respond to your 'hello'" city! It was wonderful and it honestly just uplifted my spirits. Can I share a story? Yeah? Okay...
When we first moved here, and I'm talking the first day we got here, we walked down the street from our apartment to get a slice of pizza around the corner (cliche much?). Mikey and I passed dozens of people on that short walk and I said hello to almost all of them; not a single person acknowledged my attempt at pleasantries. Most didn't even look up at me and speed-walked past, others actually looked at me like I was a quack. All I said was hello.
I remember eating the pizza in the most pissy, depressed manner (the saddest girl to ever hold a slice of pizza-- I'm making a Vanilla Sky joke). "I wish we'd stayed in Vegas," I moped, "people in the south and on the west coast are a lot friendlier than here...everyone was right, east coasters are kind of assholes." Mikey tried to console me and simultaneously bash the east coast/west coast, who's nicer logic I was throwing at him (he's originally from Jersey). He told me that maybe the people around here weren't used to such bubbly personalities on the street and perhaps I just caught them off guard. "It is a busy city and people just move faster here; they don't really have time to stop and chat with strangers," he took his chances at explaining for them. "But I didn't try to chat, I said hello!" I was getting emotional, as I usually do when I'm in a new state that I want to fall in love with but I'm still missing and comparing everything to my last home. "I know, I know. And it was rude for them to ignore you, but what can you do? Don't let it hurt your feelings. And don't let a few rude people on the street ruin your first day here...we have to live here for at least four years." I remember him saying this and looking at me like I was his child, his head titled looking at me with reasoning eyes while his left hand did that slow, swiping motion down my back. I was holding back tears that probably only came on because it started pouring outside and our table was right at the window. Feeling sorry for yourself can be quite pathetic, but add rain and a window and all I want to do is be the baby I sometimes feel like I am, especially when I'm the vulnerable new girl (this takes place for a few weeks before I become the 'confident and sassy new girl, who everyone should know'). He said this area was going to be very different than anywhere I'd ever lived, but it didn't mean the people weren't as kind. And he was right (duh). I was pretty bitter for the next couple weeks, but I couldn't stop being me. That first day at the pizza place, I probably sounded like a brat, er drama queen, when I said I wouldn't ever say hi to anyone that I walked past again, that if they wanted an asshole I could definitely be their girl. And trust me, I could, but it's not who I want to be for no reason. Ever. So I kept up the smile and niceties toward strangers that make me Me, and it didn't take long for the surrounding neighbors and passersby to treat Mikey and I with the same courtesies. Sure, to this day, not everyone responds to the "hello" or "how are you" I extend their way, but I certainly don't get butt-hurt anymore. It also didn't take long for me to adopt some of the east coast ways a few driving habits I'm not proud of. Mikey's always reminding me that I'll need to slow my pace down in general when we move to Florida, because they're on island time there, and I'm forever in a state of rushing like most of the people around me here. I suppose I've turned into a speedy little rat (?) myself. I just haven't forgotten to be nice to people in between. And that's what I appreciated so much yesterday.
After school I went to the Mini dealership to check on one of my tires because I got a little pop-up message that one of them was low...a month ago! Oopsy. Not only did they put air in it, but they found a small leak in my oil thingy (that is the correct term for non-mechanics like myself) and fixed/replaced that. They apologized countless times for the wait to which I kept assuring them that I had nowhere to be. I've never been one of those "my time is precious" people. I mean, I suppose all of our time is pretty precious but I'm just not going to be a dick to someone who's helping me. Plus, I had a huge bag of Starburst and they were playing The Lion King in the waiting room--did I really need to rush off?! Nah ah. So the nice dude at the counter lets me know my car is ready, thanks me for my patience, and I go outside to see my baby Aldous (my car's name) all clean and shiny. They washed and vacuumed my car! Now, either they're just as sweet as can be or they noticed that I had six months worth of dirt caked on and thought they needed to hook a girl up. It didn't matter, they made my day. The rest of the day consisted of a handful of other friendly encounters at business establishments that Mikey and I popped in at. Maybe it was obligatory customer service with a smile stuff and maybe people were just happy it was Friday. Either way, I was just warmed by the cheerfulness of so many strangers and workers. A few people (girls) even complimented me on my outfit! One was from the girl at the service desk at Mini, who I've seen on several occasions. She never really smiles or looks too approachable so when she told me that my outfits "always brighten her day because they're so colorful," I was like, "who me?" It was completely unexpected and so sweet, I'm sure I was blushing like an idiot when I thanked her. I wonder if she read my blog post from a couple weeks ago? ;)
I suppose I should shut up and end this babble now. Bottom line: people of New Jersey, thank you for not being pricks yesterday.
Ooooh, I'm only kidding. Y'all were sweet as pie and made my heart really happy. Thank you. Keep that shit up.


Note: If it wasn't clear, I don't think east coasters are assholes; I think we're all kind of assholes with the potential to be really nice...and vice versa.
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