For the last two decades I have walked around a large beautiful lake near my house. Almost every morning, I walk past a very attractive, annoyingly fit woman in her late 50’s. She always moves at an abrupt pace, with a stern look on her face; her countenance like a substitute teacher trying to intimidate a class that would otherwise misbehave.
As she walks, she lifts hand weights to the rhythm of her steps. So, between the 0 % body fat and the super woman multi-tasking, I have felt more than a twinge of envy over the years. However, every time I see her, I smile and politely say, “Good Morning!”
Here’s my dilemma: She never says “Hello” back to me… and, she never even smiles back…EVER!
At first, I tried to ignore it, but YEARS have gone by with me saying “good morning.”
Still, her response? …CRICKETS…NOTHING…NADA!
Frankly, I started to build up a palpable resentment to her coldness. Bear in mind I am not a petty person! In the overall scheme of life, this is not a major issue. However, I must admit I was getting quite irritated every time I would see her and she would ignore my civility so blatantly.
I was perplexed at how to respond to the situation. Do I compromise my own standards of decency and friendliness and stop saying, “Hello” because she doesn’t respond? Or do I keep saying, “Hello” only to be ignored and “dissed.”
One time in particular really stands out in my mind. It was while I was battling cancer and it was the first time I decided to go out in public without a wig. My hair had grown in enough that I felt I could bravely venture out and not scare small children with my bald shiny head.
I walked by her saying my usual, “Good Morning” and when my words were unrequited, I started to seethe with anger. What kind of a person can witness another human being go through cancer and not have enough decency to at least smile? I’m not asking for her to offer me a ride to chemo, but come on lady!!! We have walked around this lake together for two decades! Are you that cold?
I never said, “Hello” to her or smiled at her again. We would pass each other in icy silence and I had to consciously breathe and talk myself out of my brewing hostility when I would pass by her.
Meanwhile, last week, I was having a conversation with my friend Susan, who also lives near the lake in a different development. I described this woman and explained how awful she was to me.
Susan asked , “What does she look like? Is she that really fit woman that always walks briskly with weights in her hands?”
“Yes! That’s her! That’s the bitch that won’t say good morning!”
“Julie, that woman is blind!!!”