I wanted to post this cutie as I love the colors on that pic.
It's another Monday. Time for another rant. Or, maybe not.
I have been thinking about communication lately, and about socializing.
I come from a background that generally frowned upon socializing. I mean more in the work environment than elsewhere.
I never really had good party skills. I'm still lousy at sticking my hand out and introducing myself, even at networking events or the like, where it is expected, nay, encouraged.
I just feel so weird about it, still. I am nearly 50 years old and should be utterly comfortable in my own skin. And I mostly am. But I still find it weird to just sort of foist myself on others at events. I do far better in one on one situations, or in huge speaking halls. I have zero fear of public speaking, possibly because I don't have to look anyone squarely in the eye. The bigger the crowd, the better! I love it, no lie.
But get me to a party and I want to hide.
It used to be, I'd hide in the clam dip. I've gotten better at that, and am a lot more likely to hide behind fizzy water with a twist of something or other.
Anyway - communications.
One of the best and easiest ways I have found to communicate in person is by having something - anything! - in common with the person I am approaching. Wanting to network, to me, is not enough. It's got to be more than that.
Early last week, I saw a guy with his black lab off leash. The dog was friendly, came over and immediately leaned into me as I starting scratching the part that, obviously, the big beast could not reach. The guy came up and said, "That's Dakota." And the guy had some sort of a Western accent that I could not place. Colorado? New Mexico? Maybe one of the Dakotas? I dunno. I gave Dakota another scratch and we went our separate ways.
This morning, as I was walking along, almost back to my house (this was at around 7:15 AM or so - it's been way too hot to walk much later than that), I see a guy across the street, walking a big black lab and the guy waves at me first! Holy cow. So I wave back. I did not cross to say hi but there was still that smidgen of contact as Dakota and friend undoubtedly went home to enjoy a hearty breakfast, etc.
And that got me to thinkin', which is always dangerous.
Maybe I was the first person who said hi to this new guy in Boston, ever. And he's probably pretty far from home or, at least, far from wherever he got his accent. And while he's got Dakota, I am guessing that Dakota does not speak a lot of English.
If I hadn't gone walking that day, if I had let the heat and the humidity and the general chewiness of the air keep me from getting some aerobic exercise in, I would have missed this encounter. And Dakota would not have gotten scratched (at least, not by me). And the dude might not have had anyone say hello to him, maybe.
The point I am attempting to make is - there is more going on than just one foot in front of the other, burn calories, rack up the steps on the pedometer, tote that barge, etc. It is a true bit of community.
I have long maintained that obesity and depression are linked. They are married. They are Siamese-freakin' twins. And we lock ourselves away. And society PUTS us away. They don't want to deal with us. They don't want to hear. And they sure as hell don't want to SEE.
So get out there anyway. And pet the dogs and say good morning and crook your finger at children in strollers in a little private wave and pick up a stray bit of trash if you see any and take a photo of your neighbor's prize petunias and scan the horizon for distant ships or trucks as the case may be, but by all means GO OUT THERE.
It is not about pedometers and personal bests.
It is about being a prized, functioning and, dare I say it, beloved member of your community. Here in the United States, we have locked ourselves away in our little castles. Put down the damned drawbridge and get out there.
And I bet those dragons would like a few scratches on their rumps, too.