Sunday, August 28, 2005

I learn...

I learned three things this past Thursday. There was a goodbye party for one of my co-workers, and I started to understand why people have "issues" in the "real world"

1. I left my lunch at home. There was lots of food-bagels, cream cheese (3 different kinds), tons of cake and cookies, muffins...basically, I could have made up for lunch and dinner! But...I ended up going to the store and buying potato chips and an apple juice for lunch. Why? Hmmm...'cause I keep kosher. And the food wasn't. It wasn't even a question of whether I would eat it or not. And after I helped set up, I washed my hands off instead of licking my fingers like everyone else. 'Twas interesting to learn that about myself. I wish I had that kind of self-control when it came to dieting! ;)

Since I wasn't eating, I did a lot of watching. I noticed that people do a lot of hugging. Or rather, the guy who was leaving did. Leaving aside shomer negi'ah issues, it was interesting to watch. The women usually were fine with it, but the guys most certainly were not. You have to understand-this guy is an older fellow, really friendly to everyone, and he was genuinely sad about having to leave everyone-the hugs were truly sincere on his end-but it was interesting how some people were really uncomfortable about it (including myself...but I don't touch unrelated guys as a rule, so it's different). Most of them just gave a kind of loose, half-hearted hug, but one guy actually jumped out of the hug and stepped about 3-4 feet away from the hugger to continue his conversation with him. It was almost like he was trying to proove that even though he participated in a hug, he was still manly and non-emotional.

I mentioned that he was really friendly. He's amazing. He's the kind of guy that knew everyone's name, and remembered them from forever ago. So many people came from all over for his goodbye party-because made an effort to be friendly to everyone he met. He always said hi to people-but not just a hurried "hi" flung over his shoulder. It was a "Hi, Jennifer, how was your mother's surgery?" and then he would actually stop and focus on the answer. He cared enough about people to learn about them, and thereby left his mark.

It's lihavdil like the story of R' Yaakov Kaminetzky, where the nuns from the nearly abbey came to his funeral, because he used to say "Good morning" to them as he passed them every day. It made such an impression that they realized that he was a very special man and wanted to be there to say goodbye to him.

The way you talk to people is SO important!! This obviously extends onto blogs. PLEASE be careful with what you say and how you say it. Think a little!! The impression you make is lasting, and you are responsible for it. And it takes so little to create hatred or love....

3 comments:

MC Aryeh said...

I also have washed my hands after any time I have touched non-kosher food - funny when you think of it in juxtaposition to washing _before_ eating kosher food (well, bread, at least).

Sad that the guys were uncomfortable hugging this man.

Beautiful illustrations of the difference a few words can make in someone's day - or someone's life.

leati said...

is this no t-shirt man that has trouble with emailing?

TRW said...

Mcaryeh-It wasn't a dirty thing, it was just weird to me. I had the food on my hands, I was sticky. Normally, I would have just licked my fingers, but in this case I couldn't...

Leati-Yup! ;)

He doesn't wear NOTHING on top-he wears tank tops...he's about 65-70. I call him Mr. NPR. He also got scratched by some nearby raccoons that he had started feeding catfood to. Nice guy ;)