A good friend who goes to a lot of parties and film festivals often talks about how delightful it is to run into people who are “so nice.” Meaning that they’re friendly, gracious, funny, witty, open-hearted. It’s the easiest thing in the world, of course, to turn on your nice lights at a social gathering. The worst psychopath in the world can put on a “nice” face anywhere, any time. About as meaningful as a snow cone.

What impresses me is whether a person exudes a straight, no b.s. vibe, and looks you in the eye when they shake hands and seems to know one or two things. And if they have that steady Zen thing going on. And, once you know them a bit, if they’re reliable and trustworthy. And if they’re “nice” to waiters and shuttle drivers and phone company employees. (Unless, you know, the waiters and/or phone company employees are stupid or something.) “Nice” and $1.75 will get you a bus ticket.