I don't know how to write this without sounding kind of really conceited, so I'm just going to say it and let you judge me as you see fit: today I was walking down the street, enjoying the wonderful, sunny afternoon, while a human being of the male persuasion walked towards me from the other direction.  I noticed him in the way you notice the only other person walking down the street, and mentally decided against the standard Vancouver-style "avert your eyes and keep walking"*, in favour of a smile-and-nod greeting.  Then as we passed he said "You're very pretty!" and I, taken aback, responded with what basically amounts to a "gee, thanks!", my already bright day effectively brightened.

Then it hit me: this is what we're all missing in life.  Not smile and nod greetings, although those are nice, but compliments paid without agenda.  I know there was no agenda here because this gentleman (and I think he truly deserves that title because not only was he kindly but he was wearing a dapper hat) didn't break his stride as he paid the compliment.  It was equivalent to the way people in old English movies said "Top of the morning to you!" as they rode past on their horses.  There was no slow down, no attempt to get me to stop and engage me in conversation, and thus no agenda.  He wasn't trying to get anything out of me.  It was a drive-by (or rather, walk-by) compliment, and it felt great.

So I am issuing a challenge to myself and everyone else in the world: if you see someone and appreciate something about them, be it their looks, wardrobe, sidewalk dance moves, or whatever, give them a drive-by (or walk-by) compliment.  In fact, let's just make a point of trying to find something to appreciate in every single person we encounter, whether or not we tell them about it.  Then, one good thought/compliment at a time, we will bring about world peace.

Think about it: if, before a drive-by shooting, the shooters took a moment to observe their shootees and pay some drive-by compliments like, "dang, that guy's got great style, do you see the way he's pulling off that brightly coloured jacket?  Not everyone can do that.  And that girl, she just looks so happy and at peace with the world, plus her hair is really pretty.  Good for her!", they might be less inclined to shoot.

If the Wall Streeters looked at their Occupants and said, "You are clearly full of spunk, dedication, and resourcefulness, and also have very nice hands - all qualities that I admire", while the Occupants looked at the Wall Streeters and said "And you, co-human, have great hair and killer style - you obviously know have a lot of attention to detail and are good at tying together disparate elements into a cohesive whole", they might then be able to listen to each other a little more and yell at each other a little less.

Just sayin'.

*Vancouver gets accused of this kind of thing all the time, and while it's sort of true, I also think it's really not.  I both smile at and am smiled at by strangers on the street all the time.  It might be because my default facial expression is kind of smiley**, but still.

**When I was young I realized that when my face is just totally neutral I look really angry/stoned/dead and I think I purposefully cultivated a habit of having a touch of a smile on my lips at all times to avoid that less-than-flattering look.

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