Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There's 86,400 seconds in a day

It only takes a second.

As you watch the multi-colored leaves drifting down to the ground, and then joining hands to dance across the lawn, you might spend a few moments grumbling about your neighbor's trees dumping in your backyard, or think about your aching back from the raking and hauling them to the curb for pickup.  Or you could simply look to the sky and whisper, 'thank you.'

It only takes a second.

There seems to be a lot of grumbling these days (at least in the region where I live) about the number of stores and businesses which post bi-lingual signs, menus, instructions (some even going multi-lingual) in recognition of the growing Hispanic population in our communities.  I figure I can spend a lot of time getting my shorts in a twist or I can learn to say 'gracias' to the young woman who is of great assistance in the store.

It only takes a second.

When I spent a week in Paris some years ago, I found a marvelous internet cafe located in a department store right around the corner from my hotel.  The first few times I used the service, I would go up to the young man at the counter, pay for my time, and (automatically) say, 'thank you.'  He would nod, take my money, and turn back to his work.  About the third day, I decided to be daring, and as I paid, I simply said, 'merci beaucoup.'  He broke into a big smile, and said 'you are welcome' to me, and we spent a marvelous few minutes, talking about the discomfort we often feel in speaking a different language, and he then asked if, when I came in again, he could practice his English with me.  I told him of course, if he didn't mind my fumbling, kindergarten level French. 

Whether it is danku, mahalo, domo arigato, whatever, it only takes a second to offer thanks.

So, why do we always act as if we don't have the time?

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

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