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Posts Tagged ‘people’

Where In the World?

It amazes me that so many people cannot/do not understand or have the foggiest idea of cardinal directions or where in map of this huge planet they are. I wasn’t as aware of it until the past three or so years when I became an administrator for my local Buy Nothing group. As part of requesting membership in the group, people have to answer with their nearest cross streets. Even when worded as nearest intersection, people seem to not have an understanding of what that means. They end up giving me streets that run parallel to each other about two or three miles apart. That’s not an intersection or cross streets! And there’s another problem…the words parallel and perpendicular seem to not be understood. Isn’t that like elementary school?

While it is often a stereotype that it is women that don’t know about maps and directions, I find it to be equal in men. I have been told that they have no cross street; that they don’t know if they are north or south of a given point; and I’ve even been told that they don’t know what city they are in! Yesterday, a woman gave me two streets as cross streets, one of them being Wilson Road. I checked on my map to see if she was within our boundaries and I couldn’t find that intersection. I thought maybe she was in a different city that the one she provided but she kept insisting that she was right on the corner of those two streets in the city she had given me. I kept checking and I just couldn’t find it. I finally asked her for her zip code and for the street just past Wilson Road. She eventually said that Wilson Road merged onto XYZ Street. I looked it up and found that she doesn’t live on Wilson Road. She lives on Winston Road. It appears that she has lived there for over a year and truly thought it was Wilson Road! How can you not know the name of the street you have lived on for over a year?!

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I was out to dinner with my daughter and family earlier tonight and while we waiting for a table, we sat in a pretty crowded waiting area.  One couple was sitting across from us and started smiling and playing with my eighteen month old grandson.  We all chatted for a bit after that.  Then they left to eat at the bar and another couple with a four-ish year old boy sat in the vacated seats.  Neither the husband nor the wife ever smiled.  The little boy was grumpy.  I looked over and smiled at the little boy because in previous experiences, that causes them to smile back and changes the tone.  Nothing.  No response at all.  Then I smiled at the mother and she turned her head.  No smile.  No eye contact.  Nothing.  I smiled at the father and got the same results.  After a few minutes, when the father looked my way, I smiled again.  Nothing.  I kept trying but I got nothing.

It reminded me that people from different cultures have different boundaries and different ideas of what is acceptable and how they should behave.  Although I had always thought that a smile was the same in any language, I guess maybe I was wrong.

I did hear the father trying to talk to the little boy and it didn’t sound like English, even though I didn’t hear any actual words.  The tone and the phrasing gave me the feeling they may have been French but I’m not really sure why.  I don’t know where they were from.  I just know that they weren’t from a land of warmth and smiles or friendship and acceptance.

I don’t know.  I don’t think it will keep me from smiling at people in the future because I’m just that sort of a person, but it might keep me from smiling a second time if the first smile is not returned or acknowledged.

Sending a big smile out there to each of you!

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