Well, Now It Is

April 17, 2008

I try to say “Hey” to people I jog past in my neighborhood so they don’t think I’m psycho. It just seems kind of weird to run past someone without saying anything. I feel guilty. If I run past an old lady walking it feels like I’m making fun of her age. In my mind I hear the sound of a hot-rod as I pass her, “BRRREEEEOOOOOWWW!!!” So I try to lessen the blow of me creaming her on the road by saying, “Good morning as I pass.”

If a pretty woman runs by me it gets awkward. Suddenly I feel like I can’t look at her, but I always suspect people who won’t make eye-contact with me when walking down the sidewalk. So I look at the woman, I don’t want to be a creep and say nothing but being too warm could also be creepy, if you know what I mean. So usually I try to give a non-threatening, “Hey.”

In short, “Hey” has become my answer to everyone but the old ladies who get a generous “Good morning”.

But I was blown away by a man who jogged by me last week. I was at the end of my run so I looked like a corpse finishing a marathon. I looked up at him and said, “Hey.” and he responded with the most amazing greeting that really knocked me out, “Oh, isn’t it just a really swell day?”

I officially love that guy. He made my day, my week, my year. I can’t stop thinking about how much better he’s making my neighborhood by greeting people like that. He made me feel like a cheap-skate for only saying, “Hey”. I woke up in the middle of the night and pictured that guy running by me. Who was that guy?! “Oh, Isn’t it just a really swell day?” Hmmm.

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6 Responses to “Well, Now It Is”

  1. Will Says:

    While taking a walk two days ago, I went past a yard that was heavily manicured: looping paths of matching stones surrounding beds of flowers and almost topiaried trees. I’m almost past the house and this old guy in overalls comes out and says “Hey! You want any of them daffodils, take all you want.” His yard had tons and tons of yellow daffodils in full bloom. I picked around 15 or so. I hollered thank you to him across the yard. I don’t think he heard me, but he saw me and waved. This is why I like living in Idaho. I got a free bouquet of flowers to wake my wife up with.

  2. Bob McGowan Says:

    Living in Pittsburgh, most folks will nod or say hi whenever you pass them walking or jogging. I’ve ran in larger cities and they just stare at you if you say “hey”. As a runner, I feel obligated to acknowledge another runner, even with a simple nod and wave. I hate the dorks with headphones who just stare back. I usually find myself mimicking their goofy stride for a few steps just for spite. I’m sure they never notice but it gives me childish pleasure. I know what Doug means about not making too much eye contact with females. I ran past one woman almost everyday for years at 6:00 AM, I’d say hi and she’d stare back at me. One snowy day it was pretty nasty and she blurted out “It’s like running in sand!” in a voice like Gunny Hartman. She’s never spoken since. Maybe I was hallucinating. Have a really swell day Doug.

  3. Frank Says:

    I moved to north dakota from chicago. I used to drive around rural north dakota and get freaked out every time a car would pass me, the driver would wave. I would wonder “Did I know them? they didn’t look familiar? were they warning me of something up ahead?” I got to know some locals who said that waving to on coming cars on a dirt road was good manners — you were about to wash that oncoming car in the dust wake of your vehicle. So you wave as sort of a “hey, sorry about the dust your about to get hit with — nothing personal”. :)

  4. Achoo Says:

    During my two-month vacation in San Diego with no car I got to experience a myriad of street-walking etiquette. Kids were usually obnoxious, particularly teenagers on their short little trick bicycles that they would thunder up the sidewalk on, forcing me onto the bike lane in the road until they passed, usually going the wrong way and giving no apology or even acknowedgement of my presence.
    I never really saw any other walkers while I was there.. no one who was obviously depending on their own two legs alone to get them places. There were a fair amount of joggers though, suited in expensive-looking jogging outfits with ipod jacks coming from the pockets. There wasn’t really an option for audible greeting so a nod would do, if they were heading in the opposite direction. Otherwise they would just pass me silently from behind and galump off into the sunset.

    Dog walkers gave varied greetings. I would raise a hand and smile and greet them warmly, usually complimenting their animal and would either receive a similar reception or the total opposite – a complete lack of acknowledgement and a thousand-yard stare down the street behind me.

  5. FB Says:

    My government teacher once told us this story about when he was growing up. Apparently he was from the city, and they didn’t greet eachother on the street. If they made eye contact, it was equivalent to a challenge, and asking for a fight.
    Then he went to college, out in the boonies somewhere, and everyone there said Hi to eachother as they passed, and it completely baffled him. It’s about the same where I live, but maybe not quite as friendly. It’s a shame when people isolated enough to walk right by you, and not even notice your existence.

  6. Erik B. Says:

    I always felt cold not saying anything, but I had the officious idea to greet people when I jogged while living in Japan. Most would grunt a “Ohayo” in response), but one old lady was joyously hysterical that I was running around the block, I’ve forgotten what she’d said but I caught it as being fantastically amused at my jogging.

    There was another guy though, when I said “Ohyaho Gozaimasu” he responded in English in a deep voice, “Good morning”. It was great.


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