Greetings in my hometown
I often can’t help but think about it, how we do it so habitually now, as if it has always been there. Shaking hands, how it was once limited to the professional relationships, but now it has become a common courtesy to shake hands even if you meet a stranger, an old friend who doesn’t like to hug, or someone who you don’t know that well but are confused how to greet, so you settle down with a handshake, it takes a second to make the gesture; to stretch your hands and hold theirs, it’s inevitable that they’d mirror the action.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s alright to shake hands. It has introduced me to several observations, like how some of the hands you shake are so light as if you’d hurt them if you squeeze hard enough, while some are just there, not even interested enough to hold, pause and acknowledge the presence of the moment that is being shared. And then there are the confident ones, you could tell by their firm shake and the look of certainty in their eyes that they appreciate your presence, and almost instantly, they make you appreciate their presence as well.
Shaking hands, although a really small habitual gesture but when I think about it, it’s always deeper than that. We shake hands so instinctively these days, how did we come so far from saying hello from a distance to shaking hands and giving each other a brief moment of introduction. It’s kind of beautiful how we keep evolving as more involved social beings, isn’t it? It’s so weird how such an instinctive thing is so different for every person. I know I am overthinking it. But that’s one of the few things I admire about myself.
How I remember all the handshakes and the little gestures of greeting; the distant hellos, the side hugs, the tight hugs, the happy hugs, the dead hugs, the alive hugs, the smiles, the nods with pursed lips, the ignored ‘hi’, the confused ‘hi’, the ‘hiii!’ Full of joy, the ‘hiii!’ followed by a sigh, and the ‘hi’ that doesn’t reach their eyes.
Weird how my brain has saved in different folders all the hellos I have had with deep distinction, how I have written this long essay on them, and how I expect people to read this entire thing and go back to the last handshake they had, to recall if it was just for the sake of it or did the person actually appreciate their presence with a small squeeze.