Would it kill ya to say hello?
People are sometimes very strange. Yes, I know this sounds a bit rich coming from someone who peddles her own strangeness in her writings week after week, but I’m sure you’d agree that other people - ie not you or me - can be very odd at times.
So what’s brought me to this not-so-earth-shattering conclusion? I preface my answer by saying it’s hardly the first time this has happened to me, but it always gets up my nose when it does.
You see, I was out walking my dogs very early the other morning. It was actually almost still dark, with an eerie fog settling in the bush around my local walking track. The dogs and I were ambling along the track with the place to ourselves, when along came a young guy, jogging.
He was coming straight towards us along the narrow track and, with not another human or mini schnauzer in sight (and despite the pea-soup fog) he could hardly have missed seeing us.
But did he nod? Did he huff a quick “hi”? Did he even look our way? Not on your Nellie. With nose firmly in the air, he swooshed haughtily past and into the foggy distance.
Now, call me a bit old fashioned, but if you’re passing by so closely that the other person almost gets sucked into your sweaty slipstream, then certainly it’s not unreasonable to expect that you might at least acknowledge their existence, is it?
Especially here in rural Australia. I mean this is not exactly 1980’s Central Park, New York City, for goodness sake! We don’t have muggers at every gum tree waiting to divest us of our polar fleece vests and doggie treats, do we? And even in New York, I’m sure the muggers at least spoke to you before they clonked you over the head with your own umbrella and made off with your life savings. But here? Nah. You might as well be invisible!
In any case, I’m sure my six-foot-three, muscle-bound male jogger had little to fear from me in the mugging department. Aside from perhaps inadvertently tangling him up in the dog leashes, I guess.
Well anyway, I find it simultaneously amusing and annoying to be so summarily dismissed. After all, how hard is it to acknowledge another human being who is sharing the pristine morning air with you?
However I have witnessed this strange behaviour many times before; and not just on the walking track. Some people would rather relinquish their first-born than avail you with a “hello” as they pass you on the local shopping strip. They never seem to ‘know’ you – even though you’ve seen each other a squillion times.
But the funny thing is that if you ever happen to run into that same person in, say, Myers in Melbourne or seated next to you on a tram, they suddenly morph into your best friend. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking every person I see in the supermarket or jogging around the lake to become my soulmate or to meet me for coffee and cake (unless their shouting). All I’m saying is that surely, in a small rural town, you could at least give your sole fellow lake-walker a nod.
Perhaps I just need to ignore those rude people hustling past like bad attitudes on legs. Or, then again, maybe my dog leashes might just get a little tangled next time? Accidentally, of course. Bet I’d get a nod then. Or a Glasgow Kiss, more likely.
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