In my dysthymic daze, I stared down at my phone while standing by the window in the lobby waiting for my dinner to arrive. A man carrying bags walked by outside and stopped at the door. I kept staring at my phone remembering an email from building management about people entering who didn’t belong inside. I didn’t look up but saw in my periphery that the man took something out of his pocket. He unlocked the door and then kicked it open with his foot. It was his expression of his disgust at me for not opening the door for him even though I was mere feet away. What I jerk I was. I’ve become just like other Bay Area residents. Cold, unfriendly, unhelpful, uncooperative.
When I first noticed how unfriendly people were after arriving, I promised myself to never be like that. And there I stood breaking my own promise.
New York City has extremes. When it comes to people these extremes create a vibrancy that belongs to no other city in the world. Yes there are fearful, unfriendly people. But there are also friendly, open people. I think there are more friendly people than not in New York. Can’t say that about San Francisco.
I let the email from building management make me fearful. And maybe the guy who was mad at me will pay the resulting inconsideration forward pushing the unfriendliness of the Bay Area on.
But this can stop. Just start by saying, “Thank you,” to people who do kind things. That would also mean noticing kind acts. Say it to people who do kinds things even if the acts are directed at people other than yourself. Pay appreciation forward and stop the fear-based viciousness that makes this part of the country so unpleasant. And do kind things like open the door for your neighbors.