Monday, March 2, 2009


Until 2004, I lived in a very upscale community where every house had its own acre and we were one of the few families in the area who had kids. That's where I began my walking in earnest. It was winter so I met few other walkers. Me and my dog were happy on our own.

Spring came. Others began walking on the streets (we had no sidewalks) and gardening. Well, actually most of the gardening was done by hired help. Most of my neighbors were retired folks. I greet everyone I encounter when walking. NO ONE GREETED ME BACK except those nice Mexicans who were doing the gardening. Every one of them greeted me, turned off their mowers or whatever while I walked by, and smiled as tho' they were happy to see me. Not so for the residents of the neighborhood.

I tried to think of reasons for this. I figured they might all be hard of hearing - the old folks - so I began to add a wave with my hello. Simple sign language. Universal. Still no response.

First I was angry. Then resigned. I had grown up in an upscale neighborhood which wasn't terribly friendly, but I knew everyone since I was a kid and usually annoying them. I also spent my summers in rural Northwestern Arkansas where you waved to EVERYONE you encountered while driving - whether you'd ever seen them before or not - and stopped to chat with those you encountered while walking. Since we kids walked everywhere in those days, we did a lot of chatting.

I determined that I was not going to let these sourpusses ruin my day. I would continue to greet them, smile, and wave. If they decided that no response was required, well, that was their problem.

Now, I live (by choice) in a more solidly middle class neighborhood. No acre lots. No gardeners. Well, we and a few others have people who mow our lawns, but that's about it. And, guess what, MOST people acknowledge my existence when they see me! I've made a few friends at the track near my home. In fact, my mom, who used to live in the house I now occupy, made three very close friends while walking at that track. Even after she was forced to move to an apartment because of her failing vision, these friends still visit her. They're my friends, too, but I've made some of my own. I love to linger by the playground to watch the toddlers on the merry go round. I enjoy watching the school age kids practice on the field inside the track - soccer, baseball, and even cricket.

Very few people I've encountered around here have failed to return my greeting. Some even beat me to the punch! I'm happy about that. Being friendly never hurt anyone!!!

Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

1 comment:

Willa said...

It's interesting how often you and I are thinking in the same universe- I was just thinking about social networking organizations like Facebook and MySpace, and wondering if their huge popularity was, in part, to make up for the sense of community so many of us have lost where we live.

Not a walking theme, but maybe something to think about while walking...