At I Heart Lesfic, we believe the world could use a bit more kindness after one of the hardest and longest of years. Many authors have signed up to help IHL spread kindness in the world.
Today, the wonderful Eliza Lentzski is here to share a story. Also, Eliza is giving away 1 ecopy of Grave Mistake. Below the guest post, you’ll find more details about the giveaway.
Take it away, Eliza.
Kindness: It’s Contagious
You’d think that being from the Midwest, that coming up with a single incident wherein someone showed kindness to me would be easy. The region where I spent the first 35 years of my life is known for being nice—in fact, we take pride in being Midwest Nice. But when I sat down to write this guest post for Project Kindness, I realized that this was a harder task than I’d originally assumed.
One reason why selecting a single moment was such a challenge, however, might be because niceness is practically woven into the fabric of Midwest life. You don’t register when someone holds the door for you, when people you don’t know say hi and make eye contact, or when a stranger pays for your coffee order. People go above and beyond to be accommodating; it’s just what we do.
So when my wife and I moved to Boston five years ago, you can imagine the anxiety we experienced: were people going to be nice to us? Would we make friends who loved cheese and beer and sports? Could I strike up a conversation with a stranger in the grocery store without being pepper-sprayed?
I definitely experienced a little culture shock when we first arrived to Boston. It wasn’t a rural vs. urban thing – I lived in Chicago for 6 years and Milwaukee for over 10 years – it was an East Coast thing. While the Midwest has garnered a reputation for being earnest (and maybe a little naïve) the East Coast is better known for short fuses, road rage, and overall impatience: “Hey, I’m walkin’ here, buddy!”
Our new Boston friends viewed us as charming weirdos when we brought mayonnaise-based “salads” to potlucks. We were the first to offer help when someone was moving. They marveled at my wife who volunteers for Meals on Wheels every Wednesday. And strangest yet, they didn’t know how to react when we bought them beer at the local brewery or secretly paid for their dinner, sneaking a credit card to our server when the group was otherwise occupied. The former action is something our Midwest friends literally fight about: who can grab the check before anyone else has become a competitive sport.
My wife and I decided that we would continue to be Midwest Nice, despite our new environment. We also promised that we weren’t going to pick up the Boston accent. Only time will tell if we’re able to avoid that from creeping in though.
And then something amazing happened. When I smiled, made eye contact, and asked how the cashier’s day was, they started to make conversation back. People bought us beers at the bar before we could even reach for our wallets. My wife loves to makes sports bets with friends, particularly on Packer games, and if she lost a bet, the winner—without fail—donated their winnings to local charities. We used to worry that we’d stand out on the East Coast with our earnest smiles and never quite feel at home, but it turns out that kindness is contagious.
Watch out, Boston. Midwest Nice is coming for you.
Don’t Call Me Hero: Book 5
by Eliza Lentzski
Available in Kindle Unlimited
William Desjardin was dead: the victim of an interrupted home burglary, according to the police. Cassidy returns to Embarrass with Julia to support her with the funeral details, rehoming Julia’s mother, and settling the Desjardin estate. For Cassidy, being back in the small, northern Minnesotan town has brought back a number of good memories—most starring Julia herself. But it’s also triggered some memories she’d rather leave buried. And when an unexpected life insurance policy implicates Julia in her father’s death, the short visit turns into much more than a trip down memory lane.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Eliza Lentzski is the author of lesbian fiction and romance, including the best-selling Winter Jacket and Don’t Call Me Hero series. Although a trained historian, Eliza is passionate about fiction. She lives in Boston with her wife and their cat, Charley.
CONNECT WITH ELIZA LENTZSKI
Thanks so much for stopping by today.