Truth be told, there’s never a day that I don’t miss California. And when I’m not in New York, ditto for the city. But I have to admit, it’s been a little bit nice to spend some time in a part of the country where the specialty is being cordial. Life in Montgomery may settle somewhere a little quieter and slower than I tend to like it, but every single person I’ve come across here has seemed genuinely kind. And that’s not something you can say for every place you visit.
There’s a sweet elderly man at the gym, who I worked out next to every morning while we were in rehearsals. After a few days of elliptical training next to each other, he turned to me and said, “You’re getting to be a regular here,” and smiled. And went on about his business. A few days later, when I brought a new book to read, he noticed and commented. No fuss, no muss, no lengthy chatter. Just a kind acknowledgment of another person’s existence. Which is nice.
In the city, people thrive on anonymity. If you meet someone’s eye, you’re expected to look away immediately. And heaven forbid you actually let the corners of your mouth creep up into a smile; you’ll instantly be labeled as either crazy or dangerous.
But in a place like this, it’s nice to settle into a routine of recognizing the people around you and honoring their presence with a simple hello.