Friday, November 10, 2017

Lots of Communicating

Saturday afternoon at the local shopping mall. Thousands of people mingling about. Toddlers. Teenagers. Senior citizens. Young and middle age adults. Yakking. Juggling coats and purses and bags. Lost in conversation. Laughing. Quietly walking. Each navigating long lines. Each snaking their way through and around onrushing strangers. Some in a hurry. Some not. On the surface such a scene appears to be chaos in pure form. Where is the order? What is to prevent this scene from erupting into some kind horrible mess? The answer, of course, is the people. Even more to the point, their non-stop communicating is what keeps such a swirling mass from bursting at the seams.

A closer look at this scene reveals continuous verbal and non-verbal communication. One person in a rush suddenly slows down to let an elderly couple pass. No one tells him to. It is not necessary. Two persons arrive at the same time at a check out line. They both smile and then one takes a step back to let the other in-line first. A toddler drops their stuffed animal. A woman leaves the side of her companion and retrieves the toy for that baby. And so it all goes. All day and pretty much every day. People communicating with each other despite the fact they are strangers and at the mall to carry out their own agendas.

We live in a time of much turmoil and verbal head-butting. So many public figures function in a ways that represent the opposite of mutual respect and cooperation. In the meantime, thousands and, yes, millions of average, everyday folks live their lives in harmony with others despite the many differences that distinguish them. Such a piece of reality is a wonder. Even more so, it is worth noting. Such harmony demonstrates what all of us are capable of. The magic of that scene at the mall is that despite the mass of people, there is very little actual conflict. The people are acting respectful, polite, and of good will. In a word, they are communicating.

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