Do you have a pressing problem, annoying anxiety or community conundrum? Jasminda Featherlight, our resident roving Agony Aunt, is here to help. Jasminda will be responding to questions from our News Of The Area papers on a rotating basis. Send your concerns to Jasminda care of firstname.lastname@example.org and include your title, initials and suburb.
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When I go walking, I always say hello to people who walk past. Some reply, but others say nothing. I’m sure they have heard me.
Mrs PA, Medowie
Dear Mrs PA,
It’s a weird old world. A simple hello takes very little effort. Just a smile or a nod can make someone feel less alone; it can even make their day. You know, the older I get, the more I feel that this earth is divided into three main types: the ignorant, the arrogant and the compassionate.
Take holding the door open for others. If I’m entering a shop with a screen door, and someone is not too far behind me, I will stand there and hold it for them. I’m not sure who taught me, but it was ingrained from a young age. Most people say thank you to this common courtesy, but some look at me as though I’m stark raving mad, or else they walk through without a nod of recognition. Arrogant? Ignorant? Probably a fine old mix of both.
The walkers who don’t reply may not have heard you. Many people walk wearing headphones. But if they did indeed hear you, I can think of no logical reason why they wouldn’t respond, unless you look like an axe murderer, which I somehow doubt. Maybe they are trying to walk off some deep-seated resentment. Instead of being in touch with nature and recalling the fine lyrics and vocals of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good, they are instead beset by the more angst-ridden version by Muse. I suggest you YouTube both versions to understand where I’m coming from.
Don’t take it to heart, Mrs PA. It’s not you, it’s them. Keep saying hello, smile, nod, do whatever makes you feel good. Then, when they are a few metres away, turn around, run, crash tackle them and say: ‘Is it so god-damn hard to say hello? Are you ignorant or arrogant? Jasminda wants to know.’ Good luck. Let me know how you go.