Today while on a daily walk with my husband we encountered a young lady walking towards us on the sidewalk; her head was down, eyes averted, refusing to acknowledge our extremely close presence.“We must be back in Canada”, I muttered wryly.
We have just returned from another winter stay in Florida where a friendly “hello” or “howya doin’ is common. I am accustomed to people my own age being friendly but in the south it is not only the seniors who acknowledged us and it had nothing to do with being nice to tourists as this time we were house-sitting in a typical working class subdivision.
It is pubescent boys shooting hoops in driveways, others skateboarding down quiet streets and girls of all ages that called out affable greetings leaving us a little startled but appreciative. While riding our bikes through a neighbouring subdivision we were surprised to hear a friendly “hello” from the dark depths of an open garage. A young father unloading groceries from the trunk of his car looked up and shouted, “how areya”?
On another bike outing we had stopped to enjoy an ice cream when three Brighthouse (cable TV) trucks pulled in. Every one of the young men who emerged and walked past us uttered a pleasant greeting or made an engaging comment.
I guess the term “southern hospitality” must have originated in Florida.
Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am as Canadian as the next person and proud to be so but I never found Canadians to be as friendly and outgoing as people in the south. I have spent the last ten winters there so have given this some serious thought. I have come to the conclusion that we Canadians appear to be less friendly but it is only because we are a bit reserved. I have decided to be the one to say hello first, the ice will be broken, and I will expect a cheery reply.
I regret not “breaking the ice” with the aforementioned young lady.