I’m a runner. Most runners casually acknowledge each other in passing out on a run, similar to the way in which fellow motorcyclists subtly raise a couple of fingers as they pass one another. Not a nerdy big wave – just a cool “yo, ‘sup” kind of a wave.
For a runner, a lot of gestures can qualify as a ‘hello:’ a quick raise of the hand, a nod of the head, a smile, and of course a “how ya doin’.” Mornings are particularly gratifying, when one is able cheerily to extend a “morning!” to one’s fellow humans. The day’s beginning is that much more auspicious when runners and walkers greet each other with good wishes for the day to come.
The buzzkill comes when there is no response. Nothing. Nada. A wasted effort on the part of the runner already expending a lot of energy. I am particularly offended when, inbetween labored exhalations, I greet a person walking and s/he fails to acknowledge my friendly salutation. If I, while huffing and puffing and burning more calories per minute than the walker, am able to muster enough energy to greet a fellow human being on a walk, then surely a walker can return the gesture.
I acquiesce that there are some exceptions out there, one of which is a lovey-dovey couple walking along, hand-in-hand, oblivious to any world but their own. Walk on, lovebirds. Peace. A busy mom or dad trying to keep toddlers in check is also forgivable. Two or more people heartily engaged in conversation; that’s okay, too.
Any solo runner or walker, however, who cannot summon the vigor required to nod the head, raise a [friendly] finger, or mutter a “hey” is a disgraceful Debbie Downer. Deep in thought or listening to headphones? Just want some time alone? Unable to multi-task? Spent from speedwork? Suck it up and wave, for crying out loud. How hard is it? Go ahead… make my day.