Kill Them With Kindness

“Manners are the happy ways of doing things; each one a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage. They form at least a rich varnish with which the routine of life is washed, and its details adorned.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve always been a huge proponent of good manners because I find that politeness comes easy for me. Why wouldn’t I be anything but cordial to my fellow human beings? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Now that I live in a city that isn’t known for its outward friendliness, I realize that there are several things that I took for granted in the friendly Midwest. Here are some of the things I took for granted:

  • People saying “excuse me” after they accidentally step on your foot.
  • Sales people who look you in the eye, smile, and say, “Thank you for shopping at the Gap. Did anyone help you today?”
  • Being greeted with a warm smile when entering a store.
  • Sales people who look you in the eye in general when helping you make a transaction.
  • Strangers on the street who smile and say hello.
  • Any level of customer service at Starbucks.
  • The “no, after you” mentality when getting on public transportation.

While outward friendliness isn’t always a strong suit of every person I’ve met on the streets of New York, I do believe that everyone is inherently friendly. Some people just don’t choose to show their friendly side. That’s why I kill everyone with kindness. I find that outward friendliness often brings out the friendliness in the other person. If it does not, than I know that the other person is truly made of stone, thus undeserving of my attention and affections. But even with these outwardly grumpy people, such as the checker at the grocery store who never makes eye contact when scanning my food items, I still can’t help but offer a smile and a “have a wonderful day.” No use in stooping to their level.

Even on the subway, when shoved into the car like sardines, I try to show a little politeness by always reaching for the highest point on the pole to make room for those who aren’t as tall as I am and need something to hold on to as the subway lurches forward. I even say “excuse me” as I push my way through the door.

I find that the majority of people are actually nice and respond well to politeness. You just have a dig a little deeper to find it in some people.


Don’t Let the Weather Rain on Your Parade

Living in a cold, Midwestern climate and having lived in other cold climates, I find myself wondering why I haven’t moved to Florida or California already.  During the heart of winter, when thirty degrees feels warm and sunny days are a pleasant surprise, I like to lament about the things I could be doing it weren’t so unearthly cold outside: dining al fresco on the front porch, meeting for margaritas and chips n’ salsa on the patio of the local Mexican joint, relaxing on the beach with a good book to name a few.  I then feel envious of the people living in Southern California who probably have never owned a coat.

However, lately the weather has been miserable everywhere.  This winter it has already snowed in Florida and Texas, DC has had not one, but TWO Snowpocalypses, New England has been pounded with snow.  There really is no such place with perfect weather.  That being said, there is no point in wishing away all of these less than ideal conditions.

Moral of the story? Don’t wait let the weather rain on your parade! You don’t need to wait for the “perfect” conditions in order to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities! Simply bundle up!

Here are some events you can still enjoy in the Great (Cold) Outdoors:

The Winter Olympics. The rest of the world doesn’t seem to mind standing outside on Cypress Mountain under the cold, dim moon to catch a glimpse of downhill moguls or cross-country skiing. Anything to witness Olympic Glory.

Mardi Gras and Other Winter Parades. After attending St. Louis’s Mardi Gras parade and celebration this past weekend, it dawned on me that I don’t need to wait until June to enjoy the delights of a street festival.  Just add a pair of leggings under your outfit, a couple extra shirts, gloves, scarf, and a hat and you can still catch beads from a parade for hours while clutching a 32 oz. Hurricane.  Added bonus if you can wear winter gear in Mardi Gras colors.

Outdoor Sporting Events. It seems to be a trend that hockey teams are ditching their indoor arenas to play games at local baseball parks or football stadiums.  The Boston Bruins played in the Winter NHL Classic at Fenway Park this past New Year’s Day.  Last year, Wrigley Field hosted the tournament.  I attended a Packers game in early December in Green Bay where the temperature was 20 degrees. I felt under dressed as I had left my snowpants/hunting gear at home.  Of course, despite the cold, Packer fans were  tailgating before and after the game. 

Grill out.   If you’re feeling daring, you can even eat outside on a picnic bench with a couple of beers and enjoy the wonders of your backyard.  However, most people would want to eat their food indoors.  I would argue that a cheeseburger made on the grill tastes better in December than in the heart of summer because it’s such a rare beauty.

However you decide to spend the rest of your winter, remember that inclement weather does not have to ruin your fun!