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Friday, February 13, 2009



Living in an apartment building means taking the elevator regularly. I immediately noticed that Spanish people greet you when you are sharing an elevator. A simple, polite “Buenas Tardes” when they get on and then a “Hasta luego” when they get off. It is such a simple thing but it seems to fly in the face of the stoic American custom of ignoring other passengers. It seems rather ridiculous to pretend like others don’t exist when you are confined to such a small space. As when you enter and leave an elevator, people also offer a greeting when they enter and leave a business of any kind. What I found curious and charming is that other customers, most of the time complete strangers, will also bid you farewell after you finish your cup of coffee. This will be a tough habit to break when I live in the States again. Greeting total strangers will surely paint me as some sort of weirdo. Perhaps I will try to single-handedly impose a bit of civility on our culture.