Sunday, 20 July 2008

anti-social science

In much the same way as Brussels sprouts are repellent to a child but then become strangely tasty in adulthood, so activities that I'd have never considered before are now on my agenda. Walking has always been a necessary evil; where no motorised transport is available I have used shanks' pony to take me from A to the much visited and popular destination: B.

Today I chose to walk. For pleasure. To nowhere except from whence I came! I enjoyed it to. Rivers and hills and rocks and other nature things. I did get a bit bored though and engaged in a little bit of research in the field. I read something in the paper on Saturday about being friendly to strangers and thought I'd see how friendly people are when out walking in nature. The first 10 people I passed I said nothing to. I glanced at them but raised no eyebrows and resisted the temptation to nod my head. Only one of them said hello. In fact he said: ' aa'ternoon'.

The next lot of people I said hello to. ALL of them replied except an old lady with TWO walking sticks who looked scared. The interesting thing was that virtually everyone replied with the same word I used. If I said 'Hi' they said 'Hi'. If I said 'Hello' they said 'hello'. Even if I said 'urghh' they replied in the same way. If I smiled and said hello I usually got a smile in return too. When I said 'goodbye' I got a confused look though so you can only go so far. If 'goodbye' had been successful I'd have gradually worked my way up to 'banana'.

Conclusion: you can force people to be friendly just by being friendly first. Goodbye for now. I am going away for a while. Matt.

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