"I love it when you smile," My husband said as we left home to celebrate our anniversary on July 12. "You make me happy."
In unison, we both replied, "Happy Every Day."
But I don't care if it is. I honestly smile everyday. I'm happy. Even when things don't go right, I can still find a reason to smile.
However, I began to notice a disturbing trend while we enjoyed our date. The people around us seemed to be... well, offended by life.
Driver after driver passed us with scowls on their faces, and most of them were on their cell phones. So much for all those commercials about distractions; I'm not sure the message is being received.
At lunch we were surrounded by people of various ages. You'd think a good meal with great company would have people talking and smiling, but most had their heads down clicking away on their cell phones while eating. Even couples sitting on the same side of tables were doing it. Faces illuminated by cell phones, mindlessly shoving food in their mouths while ignoring the other. It was like being in an episode of the Twilight Zone.
We wondered if they would notice if their plates were switched around. I wanted to do it, but my husband said no. He thought it would be funny, but we had better things to do.
Don't get the luxury of a "date night" very often, so I didn't get us thrown out of the restaurant by testing the theory.
However, I do ponder on my observations. So I took some notes while out and about. I stopped Tuesday afternoon, when the tally marks in my notebook reached over 50 smile-less people in less than an hour. It was getting depressing.
I was even making an extra effort on my part. Smiling big, saying "Have a great day" and holding doors open for people -- men and women -- I interacted with.
The last straw was watching a serious-looking man, whom I had just held the door open for going into the store, not extend the same courtesy while leaving the business. He let the door slam shut on a mom trying to curtail her purchases and a child exiting behind him.
Too busy texting to say "thank you" to me or to think of someone else.
Have we become a society of introverts? Or, are we becoming glorified loners, only seeking human interaction through social media?
Do we care about our fellow brothers and sisters of the human condition? Or, are we just ruder people than our society was in the past?
"Remember when..." our elders say about the past.
Yes, I do.
My grandparents - heck even listening to my father now -talked about "the way things used to be" and how great it was. I'm not oblivious; I know that the problems of the past can be made optimistic if you see them through rose-colored glasses of time and sentiment. (Being a realist, I don't have that type of prescription lenses.)
They experienced then, and I'm living in the present. However, we both look back and remember a time of manners, respect and courteous behavior to each other.
The argument has been waging for centuries. There's never been a time when scholars weren't pondering an answer. Even Socrates had an opinion on the subject.
After thousands of years, you'd think humanity would learn to do better, to treat each other and this world we live in with benevolence.
Yet, it appears that many of the next generation are marching into their future past with noses stuck in a cell phone or "the next big thing" of technological marvel, believing the social network is all the interaction they need.
If you ask me, if society loses the ability to interact with each other we will lose our humanity.
Then again, maybe it's time for a new pair of glasses.