Archive for the ‘The Blues’ Category

Service of Attacking the Blues by Chatting with Strangers

Thursday, July 4th, 2024

The day I shot this was the delivery man’s birthday.

I’ve made a conscious effort of saying nice things to select strangers on the street and other places to counteract the blues fomented by current political turmoil and strife. I’ve always remarked on adorable dogs—all of them are, even the ugly ones. Sometimes dog owners thank or smile and other times they walk on without comment. Maybe they didn’t hear me or were in a rush or they don’t speak English or are a dog walker and not invested in the pooch at the end of the leash.

I’ve discovered that speaking up cheers me. I try to make the gloomiest looking cashiers smile—if not laugh. It often works.

Warning in NYC: You must be prepared for no response or reaction.

Yesterday I said, “beautiful day,” to a young man who was unloading a bunch of packages from his truck to fill a giant container on wheels slated for delivery to apartment buildings. He replied with a brilliant smile saying, “It is! And it’s my birthday!” so I was able to wish him a happy one and we both parted delighted.

I took a photo of the two men at the bottom of the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

People holding the SLOW or STOP signs at construction sites often appreciate a smile or a “hi.” There’s a ton of building going on in these parts.

The city is crawling with tourists, many non-English speaking. Should you want to make most of them happy, if you see one of them taking a photo of the other in front of the clock at Grand Central or at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, for example, they’ll jump at the chance to have you snap a shot of both of them. The only time I was curtly refused was by an American. I didn’t think I looked intimidating.

I used to let it pass but I’ve become bolder when I see someone approach and I wait–and hold open the door and they neither nod nor thank. I speak up if they are teenagers or older. And if they don’t look scary, I say, “you’re welcome.” Then, under my breath, I wish them a crummy day.

Do you speak with strangers? Does a happy reaction cheer you up?

One of the many construction sites within easy walking distance of my apartment.
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