I’ve made a vow to hit the walking trail early this summer, shortly after the sun is up. I’ve walked for years on the sidewalks of Hillsborough, but am now venturing farther to the trail.
In the South, when you pass someone on the street, you say, “Hey.” If you want to go a step beyond “hey,” you call out a comment about the weather.
I stepped onto the trail.
My fellow trail-goers weren’t responding.
Some averted my gaze. Some looked at me but said nothing. Not even a slight smile.
Maybe saying “hey” isn’t a rule of the trail?
At a turn, a man with a German shepherd was so pleasant we went right into the weather.
In fact, I crossed his path again twenty minutes later, and we discussed the weather some more (although I’m not sure we came to any firm conclusions).
But mostly, runners and walkers ignored my greeting.
I’m not giving up, I thought. I’m going to keep up my attempts to be friendly.
A man about my age came toward me. By his side was a young women I suspected was his daughter.
Time to pull out all the stops, go a step beyond “hey.”
“Good morning,” I said.
The man frowned at me. The woman looked down. They were intent in conversation.
“Her sister’s name was Rose,” the young woman said.
“Then I doubt if her name was Rose,” the man said.
“Duh, people!” I wanted to shout. “Of course not. You don’t give sisters the same name.”
But I didn’t.
I want to follow early morning trail etiquette, which seems to feature a lot of silence among strangers.
Cliff goes to the trail in the afternoon. He comes home with glowing tales of friends he’s made.
So it must be the early morning crew.
They’re pondering the day ahead. They haven’t downed their morning coffee. They endured a tough argument the night before.
So do I keep trying? Or is silence fine at seven a.m?
What about you? Do you stick to your own on a walking trail? On the sidewalk? Smile? Nod? Speak?
P.S. Of course in the Bob Newhart show, three brothers share a name: Darryl, Darryl, and Darryl. So maybe, tiny maybe, the woman’s name really is Rose just like her sister!