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The handshake makes a triumphant return

By |  June 24, 2021
Photo:

Yanik

Seven Pit & Quarry staff members ventured to Asheville, North Carolina, early last month for what amounted to the magazine’s first team trip in 15 months. Two staffers drove from Cleveland to the Pit & Quarry Roundtable & Conference. Five of us – myself included – hopped on an airplane.

Pandemic reminders were front and center as soon as those flying stepped into the airport. Masks were still on everyone as mandated by Centers for Disease Control & Prevention requirements. The flight crew distributed hand sanitizing wipes as passengers stepped onto the plane. And formalized procedures, such as deplaning by row via announcements, were now part of the equation.

Those health and safety measures remained in place at U.S. airports even after most states had opened back up. But experiencing them yet again made me wonder how those attending our June 2-3 Roundtable would engage one another.

Fortunately, in the end, the 2021 Roundtable looked and felt like any other event aggregate producers, equipment manufacturers, dealers and others experienced before the pandemic. Attendees could finally unmask their faces. They could sit next to industry friends and reflect on old times. But perhaps the greatest sight to behold at the Roundtable was the return of the handshake.

A custom in limbo

Photo: iStock.com/Cecilie_Arcurs

With trade shows and other industry events back in action, handshakes are once again commonplace. Photo: iStock.com/Cecilie_Arcurs

Ours is undoubtedly a handshake industry. It always has been, and I’d argue it always will be.

The handshake abruptly went away last March, though. ConExpo-Con/Agg show management, for instance, arranged for “no handshake” buttons and stickers last year. Some exhibitors and attendees followed the guideline while others did not. But the “no handshake” policy created an awkward dynamic when people came together.

Fist bumps quickly became a workaround, and elbow bumps gained acceptance. That goofy exchange where two people tap feet even had its moment in the sun.

But there were too many moments over the last year where two people clearly weren’t reading from the same greeting handbook. Those moments were unexpected at first, but we got used to them as the pandemic’s weeks became months, and months became a year – and then some.

Some exchanges were weird, yet others presented opportunities to share a laugh with another or break the ice with someone you met for the first time. Yet now, the handshake is back. I admittedly had doubts that we’d see the handshake become mainstream again, but I’m not the only one who wondered about its future.

“That was one thing I wondered about in the middle of COVID when nobody was shaking hands,” says Matt Dibble, a member of the sales team at Dibble Equipment. “It’s like back to normal now. All of that natural human interaction snapped right back into place.”

I, for one, am welcoming the handshake back – and with open arms.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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