No, really…thank you.
How do you say thanks? Do you say thank you enough? Probably not. None of us really do.
Growing up I used to find that when I did say thank you I said it out of upbringing, or taught behavior. When I started getting to the age of 12-13 I started noticing that adults around me said, “thank you” at what I thought seemed to be random moments. There was this disconnect. Had they witnessed something that I didn’t see? Was the gesture that was given REALLY all that noteworthy? Enough for a thank you?
It reeked of the same feeling that I got when riding at that age. When others would say, “Good Morning!” instead of “On Your Left!” or even simply passing in silent dominance like a good roadie should, I would wonder why. In fact I used to despise the behavior. I was a weird kid, but I actually sort of saw it as a weakness. Why did these adults care about these other random people? What’s more, why did they feel the need to be cordial to them? Especially when they didn’t do anything outright for them?
One day it just dawned on me. Saying thank you, even for the smallest things, even for the things you didn’t ask for to begin with….well….that was actually a sign of intelligence. A sign of civility. A sign of maturity. It’s that same feeling that kicks in when you eventually have a kid and you find yourself in the middle of public with said kid in the middle of a melt down. That feeling that lets you look around at the other parents and share a moment…and then notice the 20-somethings with their noses up in disdain and laugh to yourself….”man…that used to be me. What a sad existence.”
Saying thank you is really such an easy thing to do. It takes a couple of seconds. Some of the smartest people I have ever watched in the corporate world would let “thank you” roll off their tongues without a second thought. It would have to be the most frequent phrase they would utter. Yet there are a lot of people that believe that there needs to be some sort of exchange in order for a thank you to be “deserved”. It’s weird but understandable in a kid sort of way.
So, OK…I do a lot of things for people. I used to be a very vain person. I used to be very shallow. I feel like I have some sort of need to make up for it now. Call it Karma if you’d like. Maybe it came about as a result of becoming a father. Maybe it happened because I just felt like I had absorbed all of my cosmic allowance for selfishness. I don’t know why I do it but I do. I do things for people. I feel like if I can then I should.
Some people say thanks. I don’t really expect it every time. I know how life gets and simply think – if the person thinks about it hard enough they’ll probably go – “oh…hey, yeah…uh…thanks!” Some say thanks in different ways. It’s AWESOME! I actually think that experiencing all of those thanks in different ways makes everything worth it.
I have done shop work for people going back to the mid to late 80′s. I remember wrenching on Wes Summerville’s 70′s Peugeot with dried out and hard Brooks saddle. For the last few years it seems like the tradition has been for people to bring in beer in exchange for work or service. It’s a way of saying thanks. Last fall my fridge in my workshop died. Beer didn’t seem to make much sense then. The baked goods started coming in. An apple pie from Tamara. Cupcakes and then brownies from Kim.
Ryan showed up at my doorstep a week ago with a new fridge. Literally. For my workshop. Ryan is one of the most decent human beings I have ever known, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but honestly I was floored.
You don’t have to know me very well to understand that all I really need is to be “needed” – to be a part of something. The thank you seems to be enough. At times it’s even embarrassing to receive it. – that’s all the more reason to unleash them. How hard is it really? To say thank you? Maybe you should say it right now. Maybe to the person right next to you. Not for any real reason….not because they have done something that “deserves” it. Seriously….just say thanks and see what happens…