Mr. Cloudy's Shelter
A Place to Listen and be Heard

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Civility, rhetoric and authenticity

Driving through the toll this morning, and the fellow who gave me change was quite friendly. I probably go through his booth once every three days or so, and I wonder whether he remembers people or not.

Anyway, he always speaks loud enough to be heard and says good morning, have a good day etc. This morning he said:

Good morning Brother! How are you?
I replied I was doing well and asked how he was.
He said Good. And then, "I like your shirt."
Oh, thanks, said I, Have a good day.
"You too."

On other occasions he has teased me when handing him a $5, saying: "Thanks for the tip." -- "Just kidding."

Anyway, his demeanor has an infectious way about it, especially when you contrast it with the customer service of many places. And I am aware that he has a positive impact on my travels.

So, does it matter if he really is happy or just doing what he believes his job requires, or what he believes will get him a promotion, or whatever? It seems I keep wondering about authenticity, and whether "putting on" a demeanor is a good thing or not. I guess I enjoy this fellow, whether he is acting or not. But if he cusses under his breath after I pass, and his demeanor is an act, then perhaps I miss encountering the real him, and in a way that seems like a loss, even if the uncounter would be unpleasant. And maybe if I knew he really was happy, that would add to the encounter as well.

What do you think -- Other than that I'm overanalyzing social customs?

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