‘Good Afternoon’

I wanted to include this somewhere in my previous post about the trip to Bath today but, it wouldn’t fit.

As I was walking around the perimeter of a playing field, I passed a young (mid-to-late 30s) couple walking with their daughter. The man never spoke a word and I couldn’t make eye contact with any one of them after the initial glance but, as we passed, the woman greeted me with a ‘Good afternoon‘. I responded with an undignified ‘Hi…‘, while trying to awkwardly smile at the ground.

Then, the daughter did the exact same thing as I walked past her (I guess they breed good manners in their family – or, is it true what I’ve heard about people from Bath… ;-)). Again, I uttered nothing more than a discreet ‘Hi…‘, while trying to force a believable smile that only the fallen leaves would see.

She then approached her mother – “He only says hi!“, as if to suggest that she needs a break from her elocution lessons! I didn’t her the mother’s response and I’m not going to place a judgement on them by contemplating anything more. I’ll take it as I first heard it and try to maintain a genuine smile, if only hidden inside the walls of my skull. 🙂

…I’m more concerned by the way in which the woman attempted to greet me, even though I was clearly looking downwards, in the hope of avoiding even the slightest form of confrontation. No-one else even muttered a word to me (apart from the ‘tramp’ who wanted his photo taken)… But, I think we’re all a little bit awkward in those situations. Most people go for a walk to get away from stressful situations.

Come to think of it, why was the little girl off school? I saw another couple of girls playing with their two dogs and mother in another field. Some kids were being walked home from school as I made my way back to the car park but clearly, not all children in Bath were at school today…

7 comments on “‘Good Afternoon’

  1. shell lawson says:

    Hi, to answer the question of kids not being at school its half term 😉 On the subject of people speaking while walking I like this. I do a lot of walks like you and think its quite sweet that you aknowledge each other, we do not get this on a day to day basis walking down the street so for me it signifies that I exist in a funny kind of way (lol). I like your photos and pleased you had a nice walk…..shell:) p.s I had a bad experience a month ago with a cow !!!)

    • Half term?! Mine’s not until next week! It must be a private school-thing – that would explain the eloquence… 😉

      I know what you mean about the acknowledgement, particularly when it’s in an area where you feel comfortable.

      Thank you and please do feel free to share your cow story! 🙂

      • shell lawson says:

        HaHa half term here next week too. I will definitely share cow story very soon..shell:)

  2. Sparrow says:

    When strangers greet me it’s always a surprise, but it makes me feel so good. I’d like to say “hi” to more people that I pass, but I’m worried they’ll think me strange, or if it’s a man, that I’m trying to crack onto them :/

    • I actually feel the same way about greeting unknown women of a similar age.

      What I find very awkward though, is when I’m alone and passing a couple. It doesn’t help when they go silent and interrupt their own conversation while we pass.

  3. I remember from my childhood. My family took my on many walks and hikes through the woods and mountains. I grew up in Germany. It was ‘normal’ to exchange a “Grüß Gott” and a smile with everyone that crossed our path. It was considered rude not to exchange greetings and it barely happened.
    Nowadays it’s the other way around. People are closed off and every attempt to greet people ends with insecurity and awkwardness on both sides. There are exceptions of course. I wonder why that is? Sometimes, when strangers greet me, it feels good and I answer their acknowledgment with a friendly and warm smile.

  4. When walking I will always acknowledge a cheery ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ or whatever. To me it means ‘it’s ok I’m just out for a walk and wish you no harm,’ or is that just because I go back to old country ways. On bad days it is hard to look at people, but to be rewarded with a cheery smile helps .Perhaps my age helps, though 🙂

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