Maybe New Yorkers have gotten a bad rap. In fact, the folks in my building, not 40 stories, but a more humane 10, are pretty friendly. In the hallway or elevator, neighbors say, "Good morning," or "Have a good day."
Today, as I was pushing my cart through the pre-holiday hustle and bustle aisles at Giant Supermarket, it occurred to me that it was a miracle that shoppers were able to safely dodge and weave through the aisles, without crashing into anyone.
Being a grown-up -- rather than a toddler -- means recognizing that world doesn't revolve around you. All your needs won't always be met. The needs of others matter too. And if your needs are in conflict? You communicate.
This phenomenon isn't unique to New York, of course. But with so many more people crammed into so much less space, I decided to meditate on the lives I sampled -- and to renew a few promises to myself.
When "Casual Fridays" took hold in the early nineties with the rise of the tech bubble, Americans, turned the formality dial down from power suits, to business casual, to questionably casual, to downright slovenly, and have left it there ever since.
Because despite how obnoxious and out of control and rude and selfish my toddler often is, he's often more polite than most adults I encounter, including Yours Truly. At least my toddler has an excuse for those times that he behaves badly: He's a toddler. What's ours?
To have good manners is to consider the emotional well-being of someone besides yourself, which is why I have often emphasized the importance of saying "thank you" to anyone who has done something for you. But is it possible to thank someone too much?
When I thank someone for a favor or service rendered, what I've often noticed creeping into our daily conversation is the use -- make that the overuse -- of the response "No problem." Just when was the appropriate "You're welcome" put out to pasture by so many people?
I believe that mindfulness laced with consideration for others executed at the smallest scale can actually change the world. Usually we tell people to think bigger, but in this case maybe thinking smaller could be very powerful.