Friday, April 13, 2007

A friend has just returned from three weeks in Mexico. Some at language school, some pootling around, some by the water. He was at first amazed at the driving (terrified, too), but then, he says, he "got it". People were driving without particular expectations of the other drivers. So when the bus realized it was going the wrong way, it could simply do a three point turn in the middle of the road between blocks, stopping traffic in both directions, and everybody stopped and nobody even honked. They just let him do what he needed to do. Once my friend "got it", he said, he could see how much care people were taking with each other, even in what looked, to his lane oriented US eyes, like mayhem.
As they were flying back to the US, his wife remarked "Honey, do you know, in three weeks we have never once heard an angry word?" They both thought about that awhile, and realized it was so. (So much for assumptions about "hot-blooded" Latins!)
They got off the plane in Houston, and the first words they heard on American soil were a US Customs Officer yelling with a snarl at someone, "I SAID stand over there, not over there." His wife turned to him and said, "Welcome home, I guess". So much for happy, welcoming, friendly The US of America!
Makes me think of churches, no, hang on, really it does. And how churches always seem to characterize themselves as "friendly". Never met a congregation that proudly called itself "unfriendly", though I have known a few that had to be secretly proud of it to have behaved the way they did. Once upon a time there was a saying "Beauty is as beauty does", long discarded now in our extreme make-over world. "Friendly is as friendly does" doesn't seem too bad an idea either, though I suppose it's just as out-dated.
Never mind. I come by my old fartness honestly, so guess I'll have to stick with it.

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