For some years now I’ve been struggling with the dilemma of whether I should say hello to complete strangers that I pass while jogging around the neighbourhood. Firstly I should mention that I usually run between 5am – 7am. I think this point is important as you’ll discover while reading this blog.
I assume the majority of people reading this would say – “do the friendly thing and say hello”, and to the most part I agree but I find that saying ‘hello’ has some mixed reactions from my ‘hello’ recipients, therefore my dilemma.
Firstly the reaction is dependant on ‘eye contact’ – this if very important. I can tell that many people avoid eye contact by pretending you don’t exist. I struggle with this one because as much as I’d like to pretend they’re not there, finding something to look at and focus on in order to avoid eye contact can be wrought with danger when jogging.
This danger became a realisation on a lunchtime jog around Parramatta Park a few years back. In order to avoid eye contact with a larger than usual walking group, I diverted my eyes to the left to take in the beautiful Parramatta River. Ok I exagerate, it’s not a beautiful river but I wanted to give the impression it was more interesting to look at than where I was going. Result: arse-over-tit, embarrassment, and thankfully no injuries.
Then there are the eye contact people. They fall into three categories:
- Makes eye contact but looks away without a response – this usually leaves me with a unrequited ‘hello’ and a promise never to say ‘hello’ again (hence my dilemma)
- Makes eye contact and gives a half hearted smile – I suspect these people are, like me, struggling with the same dilemma
- Makes eye contact, smiles and says ‘hello’ – these are the people who feel that we share a special bond and that may be we should form a group and celebrate the fact we get up at stupid hours of the morning.
Back to my dilemma and whether I’ll say ‘hello’?
Given I’ve had this dilemma for many years, my answer to this one is that this dilemma will never be resolved because it depends on the whether – whether or not I feel like falling into 1 of the 3 catagories outlined above and this is very much dependant on my personal weather: whether I’m hot or cold or mild.
So, if you see me out and about on my morning jog, remember my 3 categories and my personal weather pattern:
- If I’m ‘hot’ you’ll get a smile and an ‘hello’
- If I’m mild you’ll just get a smile
- If I’m cold, don’t frikkin look at me because you won’t exist.