A pair of blogs I wrote back in 2018 dealt with a practice I’d recently begun: offering to shake hands with people that performed a service from which I benefited, as a means of expressing my gratitude to them. (Rather than recounting my rationale for this, I urge you to read the posts from July 29 and October 12.)
This practice was going along swimmingly. Then along came COVID-19 . . .
During the two-plus years when the pandemic was at its height, everyone was fearful of a stranger’s touch, including shaking hands. It saddened me that this attempt of expressing thanks and civility on my part had to go out of vogue.
Now we’re nearing the end of 2022. While people are still afflicted by COVID and its permutations, and the virus continues to cost people their lives, widespread vaccine administration and boosters seem to have, by and large, blunted the disease’s tragic impact. (If any reader considers her/himself an “anti-vaxer” I acknowledge their right to that opinion – even though – forgive me – I consider it anti-scientific and nonsensical.)
I can’t recall when I ventured out again to offer my hand to folks, but I must say that no one to whom I’ve done so has drawn back or otherwise indicated that they think shaking hands is dangerous.
A recent road trip proved to be a good litmus test of my desire to resume expressing thanks. About a half-dozen employees of different genders and ages were quite willing to accept my hand, when we’d concluded business. I was pleased the reaction of a young woman restaurant server, when I thanked her with a handshake. Her face lit up and she exclaimed, “No one’s ever done THAT to me!” Our exchange made her day, and mine, too.
I am happy to once again be offering to shake hands with people whose talents and labor have benefited me. If you haven’t made this a habit of your own, I encourage you to take it up. It’ll put a smile on the faces of more people than you might imagine.