July 12, 2009

People Talk to One Another More as You Get Further Away From New Jersey

In this, my second summer vacation post, I am going to carry on a generalization. I can't help it. It's almost as clear and in your face as the red in the air they breathe in Bloomington, Indiana. So I'm just going with it. I'll never forget the first time I walked into the registrars office at IU. I walked up to the lady sitting at her desk and oh, I can't remember her exact words but they might as well have been: Hello Sugar Darling. How long has it been since we've seen each other? Weeks? Please, sit down and let me take a look at you - how are you? I had never been treated like that lady treated me, not even in my childhood home.  That was the day I discovered how cold was the place from which I'd come.

Now I just want to share a pleasant, touching interchange that happened to me in Indiana with a complete and utter stranger. Two people, three thermoses of coffee, a McDonald's by the side of the road. That's all. It was just a moment, but a moment I will always hold dear. Just let me say as a way to cover my butt fact that there are a'plenty pleasant communicators in the "northeast corridor". (my husband loves that phrase)

Now, let me get to this incredible and memorable story. We drove from New Jersey to Indiana a couple weeks ago. When we crossed over the Indiana border something did stand out to me and it wasn't just the color red. We stopped at a gas station/convenience store/McDonald's for some gas, some coffee and some, yes, convenience. I went to the McD's counter and ordered a coffee and the lady handed me an empty cup. I turned and saw a counter with coffee thermoses. Two were plain colored, one had orange tape on it, but none was labeled. There was a young fellow there, an electrical lines worker dude, and he had just filled his cup with the orange taped thermos.

Here's where things got amazing.

Is that decaf? I asked as I stood next to him.

Oh! I'm not sure! He stepped back a bit. I just assumed it was regular since it was in the middle.

Hm, they usually put orange for decaf, but I thought the same thing. I'll go ask........Yup, it's decaf.

Oh, shoot, he said, pouring his cup into the drain nearby. Well, thanks for pointing that out, I like to have regular.

Wouldn't want you to get a headache later!

He tried the thermos on his side while I filled my cup with the other, This one is empty.

Oh, well I hope there is some left in this one for you.

Yeah, there's some left. He filled his cup, while I was looking for the lids.

I don't see any lids here, I mumbled. Oh well.

Yeah, where are they? He glanced around, just as stumped.

I walked over to Sean who was scoping out candy in the convenience part of the store.
Hey, I found the lids! The guy called to me from across the store on his way out. He pointed to the back, behind the coffee counter, They are over there on that side.

Oh! Thanks a lot!

What you have just witnessed does not happen every day in the northeast corridor. Sure, it HAS happened, but not every day, not with such casual good-naturedness, not really ever in a roadside reststop type place where people are sure not to know each other.

~I will now reenact the scene as might happen on the New Jersey Turnpike.~

Hm, do you know if that one is decaf?

Oh crap.


KimP said...

Well then, I'll thank my lucky stars I live a long way from the Northeast Corridor. :-)

Mom said...

As a resident of the northeast corridor I want to say I find that exchange pretty common in my part of the world. Mine is the southern tip of the northeast corridor, but still, it is a friendly place.

Jennie said...

I was waiting for your informed opinion Mom. Also on one of my next topics which involves a traffic jam in Delaware!