Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Delicious Illusion of Honey

In These Arms - The Swell Season (mp3)

Well, when I first moved out here from Tucson, I wanted a guy with looks, security, caring. Someone with their own place. Someone who said "bless you" or "gesundheit" when I sneezed. Someone who liked the same things as me, but not exactly. And someone who loves me.

Tall order.

Yeah, I scaled it down a little.

What is it now?

Someone who says "Gesundheit." Although I prefer "bless you." It's nicer.

-- From the Cameron Crowe movie Singles

Here's just about the only thing I know for certain about going out somewhere to eat: I know my waitress or bartender is going to be good if she calls me "Sweetie" or "Honey."

And, if they call me "Sweetie" or "Honey," and if they're smiling when they say it, then I know I'm going to like them.

If the proverbial Two Kinds of People rule holds true, then there are those who abhor cutesy or pseudo-friendly nicknames and those who love 'em. I fall quite snugly into the latter category and am guilty of abusing them myself. Smiling when you use them, especially in an introductory setting, is vital.

Here's why.

Do you know me? Do you like me? Do I make you smile? Does your day get better when you see me?

Most of us ask these questions when we see someone for the first time in a day. We don't know we ask these questions, because we've been asking them so frequently since we were barely out of diapers (maybe even before that), that by the time we're all grownsed up and professional-like, the questions are instantaneous and subconscious. We don't know we're asking them anymore, kind of like those people who can dream in foreign languages.

And here's the next why: Most of us don't mind if you lie about it.

I don't mean we want to be out-and-out deceived, but what we crave from the world around us is a sense that we mean something, that our aura is positive, that our presence is a good thing. And if you have to fudge it a little to give us that feeling? Trust me, we'll just love you that much more for it.

In movies, there are the people like The Last Rider of the Apocalypse in Raising Arizona who kills every living plant he passes as storm clouds brood and envelop the terrain in his wake, and then there are the Snow Whites, around whom all animals of the forest feel secure and loved, as the sun pushes its way through thick foliage for the mere chance of witnessing such a presence.

Most of us want to be Snow White. We know damn well we're not. We're not stupid. The world has beaten it into us that we're not Snow White. But the more people can give us even just that fleeting feeling of significance, of decency, of value... the happier our day.

Our culture and our environment can often enforce its will on our mood, and it can be either a vicious cycle or a beautiful contagion. The more people seem happy, even if it's kinda forced a little, the happier everyone else tends to get. The more we lie to ourselves a little about it, the more we believe it. The more it becomes true.

When a waitress sees me sitting at her table, and when she walks up to me with a smile and says, "What can I get you to drink, sweetie?" the meal will taste better. The drink will go down smoother. The people around me will talk more. The Cubs will win the ballgame. Evil will be kept in its cage one more day. Everything will be alright.

FREE HUGS are better, but "Honey" ain't a bad place to start.


Daisy said...

This post made me happy. Well done.

Bob said...

Unless you go to some misguided quasi-upscale place where they won't reference you by "Honey" or anything else, but will tell you that "My name is ____ and I'll be your server" or "I'll be taking care of you tonight." I'll take the honey anytime.