We all instantly recognize Robert de Niro’s famous line from the movie Taxi Driver “You talking to me? You talking to me?” It is a line that when spoken the way he said it makes you want to back away with your hands up in surrender.
These days that is how you feel sometimes just walking down the street. My nature is to speak to people that I pass whether I know them or not or to at least acknowledge them in some small way. A kind word or a smile or nod of acknowledgment can go a long way in making your day or someone else’s day just a little better even if only for that moment.
I am not naïve enough to think it will solve the problems of the day or the larger problems facing our communities or our country – but it is a start. I am a fervent believer that it is the little things in life that cost us nothing and take nothing away from who we are that make our lives better.
None of us want to feel invisible or be ignored. We do not want to be viewed with suspicion just for being who we are. Something as simple as responding to a “hello” in passing should not trigger a fight or flight reaction.
We are already social distancing. We can no longer hug, shake hands or be too enthusiastic for fear of spreading germs. We need to combat the things that are driving us apart. We really need to see and listen to each other and start with a simple “Hello!”