This week could have been bad. One day was cold. One day was steaming hot. One day we all had midterms and papers and projects and mountains upon mountains of homework to complete and emails to respond to. Oh wait, that was every day. But one day, someone I barely knew smiled, waved and greeted me by name. And then I fainted from sheer elation.
Why would this simple act make me feel 10 times lighter, almost giddy? Why would I feel the need to tell all my friends about this person and how I thought she was THE GREATEST PERSON I’VE EVER MET IN MY ENTIRE LIFE? Am I really that starved for affection that this small nicety completely made my day? My week?
I. Think. Not.
In reality, this person was not the greatest, most amazing girl I’ve ever met. (That position is held by Michelle Obama.) It was the fact that she actually remembered me that took me by such surprise.
Clearly I’m not used to being remembered. This could be due to the fact that I’m a brunette, like everyone else in the world. It could also be because I’m a Caucasian American (correction: I’m half Cuban, can’t you tell??) and of average intelligence, interests and physical characteristics. Heck y’all, I don’t even have the charming Southern accent that I’m supposed to have, given the fact that I’m from the South and all.
The truth of the matter is that here at this school, we like to forget people … or at least pretend we do. I’m just as guilty of it as anyone. We meet someone out at night, share a few laughs or a cab and then in the daylight, it’s as if it never happened. Or worse still, we meet someone in a class or in line for the LoYo truck and later when we see that person walking down the sidewalk, we suddenly start reading our text messages as if they were sent from Michelle herself. As if. Michelle doesn’t have time to text; she’s too busy being awesome.
But seriously, what do we think will happen if we start admitting we actually remember people from the night before or those people we have only been introduced to once? Will the cold stone walls of West Campus melt into warm, chocolatey rivers rivaled only by those of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory? My answer: No, the University will not melt down and puddle around your feet. It will just be a happier place to live and work.
Stealing a bit of wisdom from Buddha, happiness is something you can spread from person to person without ever diminishing your own supply of it, much like a candle can spread its light to thousands of other candles without extinguishing its own light. In fact, spreading and sharing happiness can help increase and sustain your own level of happiness and contentment. And who doesn’t like the sound of a higher level of happiness? Nobody, that’s who.
Being nice and friendly to people does not make you weird or uncool. Opening yourself up by saying hello or acknowledging someone with a smile who may not do the same to you does not make you a loser, it makes you self-confident and mature. Being warm and approachable does not in any way diminish your social status or take away from who you are as an individual; it just makes you more friends. And in my book (also known as the dictionary) that makes you more popular.
We need to be able to smile and say hello to every person we recognize from class, the gym, the library or the Shooters line, especially this week when people walk into Perkins at night and come out looking like zombies the next morning. The simple act of recognizing someone and showing that you remember them with a quick wave or a smile can make a huge difference in a person’s day. And the best part is that there is absolutely no downside to any of it.
P.S. I’m really good at remembering names and faces, so if I ever slip up and pretend not to remember you, just stomp on my foot and walk away.
Addie Navarro is a Trinity sophomore. Her column runs every other Friday.