Running from meeting to meeting and tracing requirements from three different persons for the delivery of one of several projects, most of them with unrealistic deadlines. Listening to the stressed (and some times hatred) comments from my nearest and dearest Mitarbeiters. Just the usual stuff, not a particularly hard day, but it is time to take the subway home.
I like to pay attention to my surroundings not to miss an atom of fun, an old man wearing Tracht stears at my blue jeans, an old woman freaks out because both crossings in a corner are in red, a crow standing on the snow "says" hi! while the seagulls scream for food (which is pretty unusual because Austria is quite far from the ocean), I like life.
A couple of times got a free hug in the street, that feels pretty good even coming from a stranger, but today I got a quite more remarkable hug, after doing some grocery shopping, a guy with a rather uncared appearance approached suddenly to me, while I was having a nice time with my brain.
His left palm facing down moved quickly towards me as if it was going to hit my throat. I reacted violently and quickly to defend myself, but I could immediately realize a friendly voice asking -- Wie spät es ist, bitte? -- pointed at his wrist, where one usually wears a watch. I relaxed my reaction and smiled.
I realized how "cold minded" I've become while living in Europe. Then, this strange looking man, was terribly surprised about the time I pronounced, as he mentioned, he thought it was more than seven (it was just five) so I wished him a good day! and - Enjoy the next two hours! - I said in my broken German, he stared for a second and then approached with a big friendly hug while saying
-- Darf ich Ihnen eine Umarmung!? --
By the time I realized that he was actually hugging me and that he had actually asked for it, and that I don't know what made him think I said YES, by that time, I was already touched by this strange action.
I have no idea whether this guy was crazy or if my almost constant smile made his day but what it is sure, is that I miss some good old human contact. I praise the free hugs campaign, but, why not a "may I hugh you for free" campaign?
Modern society seems to have a strong lack of self confidence and self love. We are again acquiring new paradigms which makes some people loose complete balance of themselves, I see it all the time on TV, hours and hours devoted to the unconditional praise of artificial role models.
Artificial "Prominent figures" that sell what they wear, and get paid according to the amount of people that look at them wishing to be like that. People want to be rich, or cool, or pretty, we look expecting that some part of us resembles what they sell, or hopping that we can one day be so nice and elegant. THEY'RE GOOD SELLERS.
It really worries me, even when I am a constant critic of contemporary culture and I proclaim myself against paradigms and paradigmatic freaks. Even then, I got surprised by a stranger talking to me, and even more surprised by spontaneous and cryptic hug.