FRIENDLY, HOSPITABLE and POLITE!
From the pen of distiguished British author, Geoff Dyer, flows, not vicious witticisms and spite but praise. Praise so unexpected and smoothly written that the New York Times published it online and in print.
An except from Mr. Dyer to cheer your New Year:
Like many Europeans, I always feel good about myself in America; I feel appreciated, liked. It took a while to realize that this had nothing to do with me. It was about the people who made me feel this way: it was about charm. Yes, this is the bright secret of life in the United States: Americans are not just friendly and polite — they are also charming.
Why, that's four things! What, I think, is this man after? (He's a writer. Writers can be sneaky.)
And then I remember my own trip to Arizona, just two weeks ago. I took my daughter to the Department of Motor Vehicles and the formidable-looking fonctionnaire woman behind the gigantic counter handed us a form to fill out. We messed it up, and, trembling, returned to ask for another.
"Eve," she said to my daughter, "That's a pretty name."
We nodded mutely.
"You know," she said, "There's a song with 'Eve' in it."
And before we could say "It's not our fault!" (c'est pas de ma faute) she burst into song.
"Eeeevee!" she warbled, "Eeeevee."
We stood, feeling remarkably French, amazed.
"You have a good day now," she winked.
"Maman," my daughter whispered to me as we left, 15 minutes later desired learner's permit in hand, "no official in France would sing to me like that!"
And I thought: how wonderful, this small and seemingly silly kindness to put a nervous girl at ease.
So yes, Mr. Dyer, I agree. Americans are friendly, hospitable, polite AND charming. Thank you for reminding us of this happy and easily forgotten truth.
To all my readers: Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year !