Archive | January, 2013

Do you greet when you’re out in the street?

16 Jan

Every morning before I crack open my laptop or scroll through Twitter, I go for a walk in my suburb. This morning, I changed that routine a little, by doing a mini bootcamp in my own garden. (It wasn’t very challenging – the lunges and sprints finished me – so it was more of a sandal camp.)


The one major advantage of exercising in my own private space was that it avoided the necessity of encountering strangers in the street and that moment anyone as socially awkward as me absolutely dreads: the greet. I’m naturally shy, and nothing causes me more angst than having to make spontaneous contact with another human being.


But greeting is polite, and I do it on principle, especially with the people who are walking not because they need to keep fit or lose weight, but because it’s the only way to get to work. Some (not many) are friendly; others mumble; one or two pretend they didn’t hear me.


Here’s something I’ve noticed: when it comes to the residents, the ones who are out because they spend too much time sitting on their backsides in cars, people in Bryanston would very much rather look straight through you than say good morning. Apparently, this isn’t the case in other Joburg suburbs, and my vague recollections of nine years in Parkhurst suggest that greeting was mandatory if not always terribly sincere.


What’s it like in your suburb? Do people say good morning? Or would they rather pretend you weren’t there?


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