‘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…

One Word

Through having lived with my own social anxiety for, I reckon, more than fifteen-years now, I’ve more recently developed symptoms of speech impediment, where I have difficulty pronouncing certain words and sentences in certain situations. As far as I can remember, this started back when I got my first job, working face-to-face in a customer service role.

This one man would come in (usually on a Saturday). He was friendly enough and always seemed to recognise me and make note of the fact in a kind way. But, he had this stutter and, when he talked, my reaction was to feel very uncomfortable (being very timid at the time) and unsure of how to act. Of course, I’ve never said anything about it (to anyone) and I helped him on his way.

That feeling and the memory, of each time I’d interacted with this name-less man, it has always stayed strong in my mind. After a while, I even found myself beginning to stammer and stutter and, well, it’s never gone away since then.

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