I had a discussion and an encounter on how people get to a place, drop into a seat/line without any form of greeting to those that they met there. I then remembered this my 2017 post on Facebook after such an encounter at the American Embassy.
There is a startled reaction I normally get when I sit/stand next to someone/people and I greet the person/people that usually make me wonder why the person/people was/were surprised at my greeting.
Over time I came to realize with observation that it is not a common behavior. People have gotten used to sitting next to people or people sitting next to them in public waiting places, airports, bus and rail stations etc without uttering a greeting. So when someone out of the blues does it, the seated individual is usually startled out of the norm. This afternoon (August 2017) it happened again and that prompted me to write this.
Let me tell you why I behave in this manner. I will use you, yes you reading this for my example. If you get to the departure lounge at the airport and take your seat without greeting the already seated passenger close to you. Then later there is an announcement that you didn’t get, who will you immediately ask? The person seated next to you. Same if it is inside the aircraft. Same if you are on a waiting queue.
When I was a teenager, anytime my mom sent us on errands to another compound in our Surulere neighbourhood, she often reminded us to greet whoever we met at the entrance as we enter the compound and she told us why. That peradventure we need direction inside there, we will have to ask that person. “So whoever you see, big or small, greet o”, she will stress. That has stuck to me. So as old as I am, I still do it. That was what I did at the American Embassy and everyone close turned, startled. I sat quietly observing how people joined those already seated. Very few greeted. Let us change that behavior.
A smile greeting, a nod greeting, an amiable facial expression with a nod can pass for a greeting to the closest person in a public waiting area, including events and spiritual arena like a church. For that is your immediate neighbour, peradventure you need help for anything. At a bank, you may need to ask for a pen from the last person you met on the queue who didn’t deserve your greeting until you had need for one. You may not hear when your number will be called and need to ask your queue neighbours, especially now that the TALLY NO era has returned. Even with social distancing, we will still have neighbours in public places and sometimes need that neighbourliness to work for us. Have you noticed how we all band and bond together when there is an emergency situation in the airplane. Yet most of us entered that aircraft, sat next to each other straight and stoned faced minding “our” businesses until there is a common business- SAFETY.
Let’s make the right pattern the norm and also teach the young people in our circle of influence/those we are mentoring to do same.
Think on these things!
Mercy Itama (FNIM)