As I left the house this morning to walk the dogs at 7.45, a young woman jogger came around the corner and gave me a smile of such friendly warmth that it set me up for the day. An unsolicited greeting as warm as that doesn’t happen too often, and as a smiler and greeter I’ve had to steel myself to the fact that about half the people with whom I try to make even such a brief contact don’t receive a smile with any great pleasure. When I first came to Australia I was astonished at the friendliness of almost everyone one passed in the street, from a simple smile to a ‘Gooday, mate!’ Thing seem to have changed slightly in the last few years, and the number of people who simply ignore a smile or a ‘Good morning’ seems to have increased. Those that upset me most are the people who simply ignore one: even a scowl or a mumble is better than the pretense that one doesn’t exist. I suppose people have a right to scowl or ignore one, but it’s not a pretty response. I can’t of course answer for those ladies covered from head to foot in black, with just a slit for the eyes; they may be smiling delightfully at me, but I shall never know. On the other hand happily there are plenty of returned smiles and greetings, and the two dogs of course are a bonus for dog-lovers, and especially mothers with small children who regularly want to have five minutes’ play with them.
Anyway, all I really want to say as that the exchange of a friendly greeting at eight in the morning really does start the day off well, and I thoroughly recommend it.