I'm not often home when the trash trucks come by for pick up, but the times that I have been, there's something I notice. The people in my neighborhood always speak to the people dumping the trash. I know that shouldn't be something so amazing to have to write about, but I think it is. Perhaps the friendly behavior is common in other neighborhoods as well. Maybe people are perfectly friendly and speak to the trash collectors, the maids, the yard workers, the nannies, the mail delivery person. Who am I to make assumptions! But, that's not what I hear. The Barbara Ehrenreich book, Nickel and Dimed, talks about her experience as a blue collar worker. People often didn't give her the time of day.
My next door neighbor seems to always make a point to be outside when the trash collection comes...I guess in order to retrieve her trash can and put it back in their yard when they're finished. I always notice her hollering out to them, "Good morning! How y'all doin' this morning?" with a big smile on her face. They always smile back and wave with an acknowledgement. If her husband is out there, he might take extra trash to them...meet them halfway...instead of waiting at the curb expecting them to come back and get his extra load.
I don't think my neighbors personally know the men that walk our route other than on the Tuesdays and Fridays they come through the neighborhood. It is possible, though. Most people in our neighborhood are blue collar workers. Other than the fact that my neighbors are just friendly people, I would guess that their friendship and relationship to other blue collar workers on a daily basis affects the way they approach people. My neighbors make an effort to acknowledge and speak to people who are often "invisible" in our society. I find that when I do the same, the people I talk to are always very friendly.
Although some services we receive are paid for through our taxes or paid for out of our pocket as we attempt to make more time in our schedule, the people doing the "service" jobs deserve to be acknowledged just like any lawyer, doctor, or other professional. The services they provide are just as important.
Everyone deserves to have their humanity acknowledged. Besides, it makes for a rather pleasant neighborhood when we recognize that everyone in the community is connected to each other and plays a meaningful role in our lives.