As I walked my dog around the neighborhood last night, in deep suburbia of Orange County, I was completely caught off guard when a man said “Hello!” I am not sure how it is in other suburban areas of this country, but around mine its a pretty uncommon thing to hear. It was such a surprise that I stood there for a second like a deer in the headlights. The guy must have thought I was a bit crazy since it took me some time to muster a “Hello” back.
All the way home I kept thinking how sad it is that we as a society no longer expect people to even acknowledge us as we pass them by. I never expect people to say hello when I’m walking down the street, or to even look me in the eye anymore. But when did it become that way? There used to be a time when I would get offended, if not mad when people didn’t nod their head, or some other way to acknowledge that they see me walking past them. I’d always say hello even if they didn’t.
Living in a Metropolitan city is different, you are walking by people all day long. No one expects you to look at them or send a nod in their direction. But when you live in a place where the only time you are actually WALKING outside is when you are exercising or walking your dog, and once in a while see another human being I do expect that human being to notice that I am there, damn it!
I love the people that go OUT of their way not to make eye contact! You know the ones I am talking about? You are walking down the sidewalk with your pooch, as you notice another person approaching you with their pooch and all of a sudden that guy crosses the street! Or better yet the guy (or girl) that doesn’t know what to do with their eyes; they are trying so hard NOT to look at you as they get closer. You see them looking up at the trees, down towards the dog, they even start talking to their dog out of nowhere. “What a good boy you are! You made a great poopie! Yes you are!” Anything BUT to make eye contact with you!
Is it really that difficult to smile and nod at someone? I am not even asking for a single word, just a smile would be nice… What have we become? Savages? Seems to me like people don’t like people anymore, and if that’s the case then why do they continue to live in a civilized society? You hate to look at others and be polite? Then move to an island where you can stare at yourself and yourself only, and no one will ever cross your path and expect a smile or a nod from you.
Maybe I am expecting too much out of human beings, but when I am out there walking my dog I do expect you to look me in the eye and acknowledge that I am there! Don’t want to do that? Then get off my civilized island!