I smile at you as you walk down the street. I say, "Hello! How are you doing?" to shop clerks and genuinely mean it. I even wave to other drivers and pedestrians as I'm driving down the street. I'm a ridiculously nice person and I blame it on my Midwestern upbringing. I can't change it; the friendly disposition is baked right in.
Because of this, I became accustomed to others reciprocating my kind nature. I expect people–strangers and acquaintances alike–to have genuine conversations with me. I expect drivers to thank me for my kindness with a friendly wave, but I’d settle for ample room in front of my car when they change lanes.
I always assumed the extreme kindness that I was taught was normal anywhere. I was made aware of my naivety when I first moved here. Just about everyone I've had a conversation with has been friendly and informative. However, not many people interact with smiles and waves while walking on the sidewalk, shopping in the store or driving their cars. I’ve made my peace with this. What I haven’t made piece with was the lack of ‘excuse me.’
I shop, walk and run at my own pace. If I get in the way of something, I always try to smile and say, “Excuse me.” My simple, Midwestern saying is typically greeted with silence and in some extreme cases, a stink eye. There are, of course, some people who do return my kindness and I am very appreciative of that. However, more often then not, people just bustle by me while others just don't move over.
I never thought that two words I always thought were so meaningless would actually turn out to have some meaning to me. I can adapt to my surroundings, but I will never stop being overly nice. I will keep waving at drivers, smiling at pedestrians and saying, “Excuse me” when I’m clearly in the way. Like I said, my friendly, sometimes annoying disposition is baked right in.