Motives questioned

A couple of days ago we finally had a day warm enough for me to be stating out on the front step. I took advantage of it. I realize I really am a people watching kind of guy. People are fascinating. It doesn’t matter young or old, sex, skin colour…… I know given the opportunity I could learn from something from every single person I ever encounter in life.

From my front step perch, I chat with many as they pass. With some it is just a quick exchange of pleasantries as they continue walking. Others stop and we chat about anything and everything. As a rule I verbally acknowledge everyone, often with a simple “hello, hope you are having a nice day.”

As with any rules there are exceptions. We live very close to an elementary school, K to six. Now unless I know them, I don’t speak to the children. Reasoning there is simple. I don’t want to startle or even maybe scare them as I am sure parents have many times told them not to speak to strangers. I understand and respect that.

I have long since noticed females are much less receptive to even a pleasant hello from a stranger, even an old goat out siting on his step. Some ignore the comment and quicken their pace. Others give a quick hello with a forced half smile. Some return my comment with a genuine smile and wish me a nice day. I did think it is sad, but I do understand the reluctance of many to speak to or even acknowledge a stranger. It is just the way the world is today. Hey, they don’t know I could some sort of weird pervert with who knows what kind of intentions. What are my intentions?
Simple to share a smile and possibly brighten someone’s day. Under these circumstances, am I accomplishing that? Or, am I just causing them to feel a little nervous about the old goat that tried to speak to them.
What do you think?

4 Responses to Motives questioned

  1. M T McGuire says:

    I’d lay bets it’s this. They would like to stop and talk but they have 101 things to do and they don’t have time. They feel bad about that, so they scurry by, hoping you won’t notice them almost. I’m sure they’re not scared, just guilty. I say hello to everyone and his dog, but there are times when I’m in a hurry and I cut the hellos or notice the awkwardness of people who haven’t time to stop and chat but aren’t sure how to tell me. Just a thought.


    I totally understand. I totally understand that. I didn’t mean the comment to sound as being in anyway critical. More just an observation of possibly a sign of the times we live in. Have to do a post on that. Always appreciate hearing from you

  2. Laurie says:

    Hi Bill,

    I’m one of those “young” (if you count 44 as young) gals who walks her dogs 3 or 4 times a day, and I really appreciate when you old goats say hello! 🙂 I especially appreciate it when you’re at your own house, because then I don’t think you’re a crazy roamer who might harm me. If I know where you live, I definitely don’t feel like you’re gonna grab me. Plus my dogs are pretty yappy.

    But it’s different for me – I live in a neighborhood in North Vancouver that has a very small community feel. In fact, my husband and I are throwing a Neighborhood Party on Saturday night! We do it every 10 months or so, and we invite all the neighbors and our dog walking friends.

    My point is that I think it depends on your neighborhood, and how friendly the community is. Some are much, much friendlier than others.

    Hey – the other day I write a post called “How to Decorate Your Coffin.” Have you thought about that — or do you find it macabre to think about?

    In peace and passion,

    hi Laurie, nice to hear from you. At 44 I count you as a young chick. I do understand that, particularly Ladies do have to take special care. There are the crazy roamers out there well may intend harm and it is better to be safe than sorry. Just because a stranger says hi we are certainly under no obligation to respond. My comment was more just a general observation of what I see.
    Cremation is my wish but I will pop by your site.

  3. Mel says:

    I’m not a walker, unless you count walking the same course, back and forth like a duck in a shooting gallery (best to be strategic if you’re a lame duck like me!). But I am a porch step sitter and a greeter of those who pass by.

    The older folks are friendly enough. And meaning no disrespect, I’ve experienced some of what you’ve observed. I have my own theories. And they all make me a bit sad. My theories tend to do that, but as someone was kind enough to point our, it’s probably more to do with that person than me or my theoriea. LOL

    I will toss out there one thing though. (You know me!!)

    We seem to be cultivating isolation in this new age of the wonderful world wide web. We can forego shopping for shoes or clothes or groceries, go online and have them delivered to our door, even. We can answer emails or texts and not have realtime conversations. The very medium that was designed to bring the world together has resulted in a form of social isolation. You don’t have to resolve conflicts, you can simply “un-friend” them and go to the social medium and find another “friend”. No “real-time” interpersonal relationship skills required!
    I’ve probably exaggerated it a bit, but you get what I mean. And this all comes from a woman who adores this medium!!
    However, what we seem to be cultivating is a culture lacking interpersonal relationship skills. People who don’t know how to respond to an unknown person in real time. It feels scary to them, so they hang their head, pretend they didn’t hear you and keep walking. That’s my theory, based on observations. And based on struggling young adults who seriously lack those people skills, who admit to the isolation as they live their life and complete their higher education alone in their homes. Makes me sad….

    Hey Mel, I think you are on to something here. The world more and more is loosing the personal touch. By that I mean direct human contact as more is done via texting, Facebook…. I recently watched a very interesting video on this exact topic. It was about a man that had something like 450 Facebook friends but felt lonely and isolated as he had no one to talk to.
    Technology can have it’s draw backs in this way. Are we loosing our “humanity” in that our best friend or at least our most valued companion is our smart phone. That thought is sad.
    OK, Vi and I do have a fancy cell phone. She carries it with her for emergency calling. A couple of weeks ago I took it with me somewhere. I am such a tech guy, I couldn’t even figure out how to use it as a regular phone

  4. hilarymb says:

    Hi Bill – a lovely smile and have fun when you get home – seems a good response … you’re acknowledging them and wishing them a happy afternoon/evening .. cheers Hilary

    Thank you

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