When I bicycle on the paths running along the Thames River here in London Ontario, I often say good morning to those I meet. Not always, though. I'm sure you are familiar with this: When approaching a stranger on foot or on a bike, your gut tells you whether to smile and whether to speak or greet, based on factors like age and gender and other vibes that are largely intangible or unconscious. I probably say good morning to about half of the people I approach. Because I'm on a bicycle rather than on foot, they often don't have enough time to respond; I would say that about one quarter manage to do it in time. I'm working on saying it sooner, but with increased distance comes increased volume, and with increased volume comes increased startle / "you're a freak" assessment factor.
Is it strange that I don't greet people in the same way in the afternoon or evening? Are you the same? I never say "good afternoon" or anything along those lines, or even "Hey" or "How's it goin', eh?". I only greet those I meet in the morning, which I have only just realized. It must be that what optimism and kindness I've got hasn't been stomped out of me yet. Or maybe I'm just tired after work. Let's go with that. It's a little less negative.
On Thursday morning I came across an older guy with an off-leash dog. That doesn't bother me in the least, by the way. If your dog is obedient and predictable, why not? Nicer for the dog, nicer for you, and everybody else should just relax, in my opinion. Unless you are the parent of a baby who smells like bacon. Don't relax then, or ever: If your baby smells like bacon, potential biters are EVERYWHERE and are not limited to dogs, not by a long stretch.
Anyway, that off-leash dog made me slow down more than usual, which is awesome because I recorded the best return "Good Morning!" I have ever received:
That solid, energetic "Good Morning" set the tone for my whole damned day! Thanks, oldish guy! Now, just gotta put in one good day and it's the long Thanksgiving Weekend! Superb.
R A N T W I C K