Friday, October 5, 2012

Things People Say Fridays #7 - Good Morning!

good morning!
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.

Yer Pal,


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I say hello, wave or nod to just about everyone on the bike trail. The recumbent usually garners loads of attention so it's just something I've gotten used to.

I like to ride my road bike sometimes and just look straight ahead and scowl.

cafiend said...

I try to say good morning or good evening to everyone. I get the hairy eyeball from most of the pedestrians no matter what. Greeting them quietly but courteously, without pausing, seems like a good tactical move. I've already slowed down to near a walking pace so I don't blow past them at a hazardous or dismissive pace. Most of them look at me like I roared down on them screaming curses, spitting and kicking out randomly. The narrow path squeezes user groups together. Most pedestrians step off into the weeds. Some of them play a little chicken with me first. I figure dropping a polite greeting n the fly-by conveys a little humanity, but I'm not sticking around to find out if it worked.

Anonymous said...

My paths run into the desert and I don't run into folks all that much. Those I do see I just say Hi/Hello or give a little wave or head nod. Not to everyone though, it just depends on vibes like Rantwick said. I sometimes also come across folks with an unleashed dog, and will just slow or stop to let it sniff me or give it a pat on the head.

JAT in Seattle said...

I too have found the words "good morning" trip off the tongue far more easily than any other time-of-day specific greeting, and I suspect it's related to the shared suffering: we're out here in the cold (and probably rain), doing the human powered thing before our workday has even begun, and yes, I'm passing you because I suck apparently less than you (cough!), but I recognise we're all in this together.

(and you're going to pass me back again in a minute because I'm going to be photographing a tree)

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