I love walking in the morning. My town has a marvelous, 2 mile “bike trail” running right through the center of it. It was built to cover the old railroad tracks no longer in use, so it truly does – run right through the center of town.
Since writing my post, Everyone is Friendlier than People from New Jersey, I’ve been more determined to greet passersby as I walk on the path or am out and about. In a sense, it has become My Mission.
Everyday as I walk the path I make an effort to say, “Good Morning” to the people I pass. This is a lot more awkward than you’d think it would be.
I once passed an old gentleman from behind and as I was lapping him I greeted him with a warm, “Good Morning.” I walked to the end of the path, swiveled around and started heading back East. A few minutes later the old gentleman and I passed again, this time we were walking toward each other. When he saw me his face brightened and he said an enthusiastic, “Gut Morningh” with a heavy accent and a smile.
I don’t think he recognized me from the front, and although this could have been a somewhat awkward situation, my heart was gladdened to think that my initial “Good Morning” to him a few minutes earlier had created a positive chain reaction.
I said it to him and then he said it to me. And I’m OK with that.
I take My Mission seriously but the following is a list of people that I Do Not say “Good Morning” to:
- Dog walkers whose dogs are in the middle of a poop. (This happens more often than you can imagine.) I figure these people must be humiliated enough watching their dogs take a dump and probably are wishing for invisibility. I sure would be. Therefore, out of consideration for their remaining shreds of dignity, I walk right by without a greeting and pretend to see nothing.
- People with ear-buds in. This is a struggle. I want to say “Good Morning” but I know they can’t hear me. I try to make eye contact and smile instead.
- People I’ve already passed once and already greeted. Awkward. I don’t make eye contact
until I am a few feet from them and then I look over for just the teensiest instant and flash them a mini half-mouth smile. I have this down to an art form. It means, I acknowledge you. We passed and greeted each other 9 minutes ago. In fact, we pass and greet each other this way every day. I’m on A Mission, you see.
- Groups of people walking together in conversation. What is the etiquette here? Do I interrupt? I’m 50/50 on this one.
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