Every morning I walk on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, a beautiful 9.7-mile trail that runs from the middle of San Jose to Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos. And every morning I happily and cheerfully say “Good Morning” to every person I encounter. It’s just something I’ve always done, my way of spreading joy and positivity. This morning, I decided to do a little experiment. I wanted to count how many people actually said good morning back to me. The answer? 11 out of 15. And what have I taken away from the painstakingly extensive, labor-intensive, award-winning study? Hell, I don’t know. But I will tell you this; I’m not so surprised by the numbers.
This trail would be a great place for a human behavior expert to hang out for a few days to collect data. It really is fascinating. There are walkers, joggers, bikers, and the occasional rollerblader. As for the walkers, some keep their heads down or to the side as they walk, to avoid all possible human social interaction. Others appear to not even understand what I am saying. Many athletes have their iPods so loud that you could sing along to that Maroon 5 song with them. Some women look at me as if I am trying to hit on them. Not! Others are so caught up in their gossip and talking crap about a co-worker or family member that they simply don’t hear me (even though I project very well and usually throw in a hand wave). I try not to be judgmental. Who knows what they have going on in their lives, right? And if they don’t want to say good morning, they really don’t have to! It’s their right. It’s their choice.
I do think it’s such a waste of an amazing walk in nature, though, when you don’t even notice the trees, the creek, the flowers, the smell, the wildlife, and the people, all around you. This is life. I’m guessing most of the people didn’t even notice this amazing grasshopper on the fence as they walked by it. Or if they did notice it, they probably didn’t even take the time to admire it, thank the universe for it, or say good morning to it…like someone I know.
What about you? Do you say good morning or hello to people you encounter on a walk or in the cheese section at Whole Foods? Do you flash a smile their way? Or do you try to avoid eye contact and just move on your way? Just curious…