The Inuit Rub Noses

Deviant Art
“Your knees are smiling at me.”

I glance up to see an elderly gentleman grinning at me on his way out of the coffeehouse.  He looks sheepish, as if he didn't expect me to actually hear what he said.

“You should keep warm,” he says, as if to amend his previous statement.

It suddenly occurs to me that I am wearing my painting jeans – faded blue Luckies with a hole on each knee.  While sitting, the gaping holes take on the shape of crescent moons.  Or smiles, if you will.

“They are at that,” I agree, grinning back.  “The good news is that I’ve taken to wearing scarves lately, so at least my neck is warm.”

“Well that’s something,” he says, winking at me as he ducks out of the building.  

. . . And that was that – a brief, friendly encounter with a stranger that didn't amount to much of anything.  It did, however, get me to thinking.  Why is it that this doesn’t occur more often?  

Whatever happened to well-meant small talk between strangers?  No outstanding reason or strings attached – just a polite “how’re you” in passing?  Are we really too busy to say hello?

Becoming acquainted takes on different forms depending on the culture.  There is the official introduction, the shaking of hands, the kissing of cheeks.  I read once that in Polynesia it is popular to stroke faces, while in Tibet you might stick your tongue out to show your goodwill.  The Inuit rub noses.

By comparison, how simple it is to merely greet one another with words.  (No really, who knows where that strange nose has been?)

I think this may be part of the reason why I’d like to open a coffeehouse someday.  I want to talk to people I’ve never met – not necessarily about anything important or personal.  Just a conversation to make the world smaller.  On the other hand, do I need a barista apron strung around my neck to use as an excuse?

I think not.

So . . . how’re you?


  1. I'm doing well. How are YOU doing? Thanks for this post. I often feel the same way.

  2. I totally agree! My husband makes the comment that where ever we go I find someone to talk to. I can't help it. Well said. You never know who you will meet, or who's life you may change with just a simple gesture!


  3. I'm just swell, thanks, and you? *sticks out tongue* I knew those Tibetans were special :)

  4. I'm wonderful, and hope you are too! :).

    I love this! I used to work at a job that I met people all the time, and I loved it! I used to love hearing their stories, and daily life adventures.

  5. Great post! I agree with you - you don't need a barista apron to connect and have conversation with others - these days all you need is a blog or twitter or facebook. I think we forget that though we do not physically see the other person we're talking with -they are real and a kind hello can go a long way. Best to you and yours in the new year!


( hippies always welcome )