I have recently been intrigued by people’s greetings when you pass them on the street or in parks. I used to never know whether to say hello, look away, or what.
I didn’t like having to make this decision every time so I decided I’d say hello to everyone. Usually I say, “Lo.” This seems to be friendly enough without going overboard. I don’t want these strangers to think I’m flirting or being overly familiar by saying the entire Hello.
Once I consistently started saying a greeting, I found it interesting to see people’s responses. I’ve broken them down into a few types.
(1) The kid. These people have speaker buds in their ears and even if their iPod isn’t on, they pretend they can’t hear you. I suspect all teenagers have fake speaker buds to avoid talking to adults.
(2) The fast walker. This is usually a woman on a mission. She’s trying to get her workout done in record time. She’s in stretchy black pants and takes long strides, swinging her arms forward and back briskly to help propel her at optimal speed. If she responds at all it will be with a chopped off, “Hi!” as if anything more will slow her down.
(3) The guy with the little dog. This guy has a small, curly haired dog on a long leash that is lolly-gagging along, sniffing everything and then peeing on it. The dog pees a lot, too. This guy has got plenty of time to talk. He’ll respond by saying, “What kind of dog is that?” It’s his lead in to asking more questions and engaging you in a conversation. He doesn’t want to try and pick you up, he just wants to chitchat. He’s probably got a nagging wife at home that he’s trying to avoid.
(4) Two-somes. If it’s two women, they’ll ignore you because they’re engrossed in gossip. If it’s an older man and woman, they want to exchange pleasantries, probably because they’ve run out of things to say. Two men want to talk as well. When you say, “Lo,” they say, “Good day for a walk.” They are easily distracted from their conversations, if they were having one.
(5) The shy man. This guy will not make eye contact. He thinks a single woman in a park is out to lasso him, and he wants no part of it. He will not respond come hell or high water.
I used to get irritated when people didn’t respond to my greeting until I started classifying them. By doing this I can make them seem like misguided stereotypes rather than rude people or, worse still, people who aren’t so totally into me. Quite frankly, I now see that those who don’t respond are losers. As such, I’m more than happy when they don’t respond. Who wants a loser chatting you up in a park anyway. It’s creepy.