Monday, February 23, 2009


She is always smiling a pleasant smile. I always wondered why all the male curmudgeons that preceded her at this corner bothered reporting for work. They never talked to the children. They never smiled. They barely responded to my good morning greeting.

She is a crossing guard at our local Martha Currie elementary school. She is in her mid forties and she wears the customary guard coat, hat and big red cross over her body and she carries a Stop sign. Each day when I do my walk/run, still more walk than run at this point, she greets me. We exchange a courteous salutation or weather comment as I pass by her on her corner.

Today she asked, “Did you enjoy you holiday?”
Not always certain about my own memory I was sure this time that I hadn’t ever conversed with her about a vacation so I asked, “Did I tell you I was going on a holiday?”
“Maybe I confused you with someone who looks like you,” she answered as we stood momentarily together.
“You look like your brother Mike,” she told me.
Not convinced that this was true, I said, “No!”
She asked, almost stated, “You don’t have a brother Mike?”
“No, I don’t” and I was in a half turn to continue on my homeward saunter.
“But I am going on a trip soon,” I hinted and she followed up with “Where are going?”
“France” I boastfully said.
“Do you speak French?” she wondered.
“A little” I lied to her and she wished me a good trip.

And now I am thinking that if you want friends and care to be friendly it’s so easy. All one needs is a cache of good lines like the one she used with me. You can always generate a short conversation.

I might see a total stranger and ask, “Did you enjoy your dinner at Moxie’s last Thursday?”
To which I might receive, “No, I have never been to Moxie’s. You have mistaken me for someone else.”
To which I can say, “Oh, you and your sister Amanda look so much alike.”
To which I might get, “My sister’s name is Kelly.”
To which I could answer, “That’s right, I often get those two names mixed up.”
And then I can add, “You should try Moxie’s. You will enjoy the ambiance and the food is good. Have a nice day.”

To have friends, you must show yourself friendly.

Friends official site

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