I have been trying to devise some sort of behavioral protocol for all the everyday happenings in my life.
I’m talking about waving and hugging and shaking hands, mostly.
I have a tendency, for instance, to wave at people as I am walking down the street, or standing idly in my yard.
But what is proper? Am I inciting some sort of unwanted attention?
For instance, I usually wave at policemen, and that’s a lot of waving, because my street is what I deem a thoroughfare and there are lots of police cars traveling back and forth all the time.
This is very comforting to me, because if I ever get into one of those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” scenarios, help will arrive almost immediately.
I have never walked a block or so down my street without seeing at lease one police cruiser.
But many days, I hesitate to wave. I don’t want them to think I am presumptuous. Nor do I want them to think I need assistance.
I guess if I needed assistance, I would wave both arms madly, if I were able, and they would surely see that as a sign of distress.
Usually, what happens is I wave, and they wave back. That’s nice.
I also wave at my letter carrier. And he always waves back, even when it turns out, later, that he is not my real letter carrier, but a substitute.
Do both the U.S. Postal Service and the Texas City Police Department advise their employees to return waves of little old ladies walking dogs?
I usually wave to the garbage collectors, especially the ones with the huge truck who pick up all the brush. They always wave back — and are so quick to pick up all the brush.
When I began working for the newspaper, I quickly learned that as a professional person, I needed to shake hands with almost everybody I met, particularly those about whom I was going to be writing, like city officials and school board members. So I became a hand shaker, though sometimes to the detriment of my poor, over wrung hand.
I also found out rather quickly that this community is full of huggers.
In church, everybody hugs everybody all the time.
At meetings of folks like the chamber of commerce, hugs are in order.
When you have not seen someone for at least a week, hugs are expected. And who knows how enthusiastic hugging can get with some long, lost friends.
When your have been hugged by some of these bear hugging gentlemen, you have been hugged.
Which is breathtaking, but fun.
Kissing? I just may be becoming a germaphobe.
I am reserving that for close family.