The other day I was in the checkout lane at the grocery store, doing my usual last-minute shopping for that night's dinner. Without glancing up, the cashier mumbled, “Hi-how-are-you?” as she bleeped a package of pasta over the scanner. I answered, “Great-how-are-you?” and fumbled to get my wallet out. Neither of us was really paying any attention to each other or to what we were doing; just another chore to check off the list for me, just another line of items on the conveyor belt to her. I ...

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