Friday, April 23, 2004

Trail Note: The "Hi" Experiment

I went for a jog around my usual neighborhood route last night after work. It was a beautiful evening, still sunny at 7 pm (sunny after a cloudy drizzly week), perfect temp (60 degrees or so), gardens were blooming, and a lot of others were out walking or running.

As it was such a nice time to be out getting a little exercise, I sported a smile throughout the run (despite feeling less than great, still getting over a travel-induced cold). I nodded and said "hi" to the runners and walkers with whom I crossed paths: fellow travelers in this lovely spring. Very few even acknowledged my greeting. I then made it a point to say "hi" or "good evening" to every single person I encountered on this run, along with the smile/nod. I must have greeted 2 - 3 dozen people on that 3.5 mile loop, and only got a handful of smiles, nods, or hello's in return.

I recently spoke with a couple of fellow runners who are Seattle transplants from the South East (from Florida, one went to school in NC) and they commented on how unfriendly people from Seattle are. They're not rude, like one might find in the New York area, but it's true that they're not friendly. No nods or hellos on the sidewalk, no good mornings from the mail man, etc. Having just spent a couple of weeks in Virginia and North Carolina, I can tell the difference.

So, if you're in Seattle running and you pass a sweaty person gasping for hello, please say hello; I could use the encouragement.


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