The good stuff is generally simpler and more regular. Over the weekend, I walked down a boulevard I’m so familiar with that I rarely pay close attention to anything on it other than the traffic lights and my fellow pedestrians’ paces. This time I didn’t zone out.
I noticed a poster announcing a major going-out-of-business sale at a stationery/party supplies/novelties store. The space was small, overcrowded, and overheated. I expected no fewer than 3 or 4 of the bargain hunters to massively, mindlessly, act up in the claustrophobic heat.
Not at all. The customers – smiling, making warm eye contact, unnecessarily excusing themselves when they shuffled past one another - had scrupulously read their “How to Behave Like a Midwesterner” manuals. There was an unspoken agreement to obliterate obliviousness, at least that afternoon, in those awkward aisles.
I stocked up on discounted decorations, birthday cards, and thank-you cards. The birthday cards are the higher-end elaborate ones that I would never buy full price and the thank-you cards are a cheery shade of yellow.