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Recognized Social Butterfly



A Perspective on Perspective in Waikiki

When I take my daily walk, I try not to stop on the way when other pedestrians are close by. I hate to interrupt my sometimes painful forward motion. It’s an old habit of mine that still clings to me.

The other day near the end of my walk on a narrow path, I noticed a couple ahead of me with a baby carriage.  When the man saw me, he moved his family to the side to let me pass. I appreciated his courtesy. After taking about ten leisurely steps (I can’t walk quickly because of my nagging hip arthritis), I got right next to the man. He said this to me: “Take your time, thank you.” His tone was matter-of-fact, so it was difficult for me to determine if he was being gracious or upset with me for delaying his family’s progress, as if I had purposely slowed down to spite them.

It was a conundrum. Very often, one’s tone is more telling than what is said. It is easy to figure out what a person means if he or she (or whatever pronoun is woke nowadays) speaks viciously or affectionately. But there is a lot of ambiguity in between those extremes.

Accordingly, I didn’t know how to respond to the man whose intent (his tone was neutral) wasn’t clear-cut. I just nodded and continued to walk away from the family.

Upon reflection, in order to avoid potentially messy confrontations on the sidewalks, I will try to stop when people are closing in on me, giving them the right of way whenever possible. I may be inconvenienced, but being considerate of others should be as much of a goal as seamlessly plodding along my route.

I am thankful that the man with the baby carriage said something to me, no matter what his cryptic monotone implied. In every area of my life, I shouldn’t let my selfish ambitions dictate my behavior.

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