Editorial: Welcome to Monroe

FI-EditorialIn an age where politeness often takes a back-seat to our ever-pressing agendas, Monroe seems to be a breath of fresh air. Perhaps time will prove me wrong, but in the last five weeks, as I’ve become acquainted with the town, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the friendly nature of its residents.

Before I elaborate, it should be known that being new to a town is not a novel experience for me. I moved as a child, went off to college out of state without knowing a soul and moved to big, bad New York City at the age of 23, knowing one person in a city of eight million. Being new is almost routine, but being welcomed is a different story.

Since arriving in Monroe, I have met any number of board members, politicians and everyday citizens, all of whom have seemed genuinely happy that I’ve become a part of their town. From a simple smile, to those who offer their expertise or assistance, Monroe residents have greeted me with warmth and hospitality in my short time here.

Absorbing the town’s amiable nature, however, has been a source of confusion. Why is it that I’ve been taken aback by friendly gestures? It seems members of our society have become so egocentric that even common courtesy is an afterthought. Everyone is busy, myself included, and no one is perfect, but would it kill us all to slow down long enough to throw a kind word in our neighbors’ direction once in a while?

Perhaps my particular life experiences are what have caused me to become so jaded. Attending a small, private college with a slew of competitive overachievers certainly wasn’t the first place to find a friendly face. And as much as I love everything that is the Big Apple, New Yorkers don’t exactly roll out the welcome wagon. Even working as an assistant newspaper editor in Greenwich, a fellow Fairfield County town, seems to have added to my cynicism. But perhaps I’ve found my way to Monroe to make up for all of that.

Maybe it’s the town’s small size that makes it feel more neighborly. Maybe I’ve simply been in the right place at the right time thus far and I’ll eat my words in due time. But it seems to me, Monroe’s warmth is genuine. And I am grateful to discover that all hope of civility has not been lost.

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