So, I just went on a 3-mile run (mostly walk) on a bike path near my house. There are other people doing the same, and I usually pass them going the other direction. We usually share a smile and wave, sometimes we might even say “hi” or “hey.” One guy even said “How’s it going?” Which, I thought was odd because he was running, and he didn’t give me time to answer. I was doing fine, btw, old guy in tan shorts. Over-all, this exchange has a nice community feel to it, albeit very non-committal in nature. Let’s face it none of us are going to go out for dinner and a movie anytime soon. We just want to pass each other with as much civility and as little awkwardness as possible.
The problem is there’s a second pass-by. This isn’t a circular bike path. It’s a 1.5 mile straight path and in order to get back to where you started, you have to walk the same path twice. You pass the same people coming back as you did going. What is the protocol when passing someone the second time in a matter of minutes? You don’t know these people. You don’t have any real connection to them. What are you supposed to say? I decided to leave it up to them. I kept my head down until I got close to them and then I just looked in their direction and smiled. A surprisingly large number of them looked frightened. A couple looked put off by seeing me again. One woman seemed to pretend I wasn’t even there. The guy who asked how I was doing clearly didn’t care at all because he purposely looked away the second time we passed. My answer to his question at that time would have been “slightly awkward and a bit ostracized, thank you very much!”
So, someone please tell me, what is the proper etiquette in this situation?
*I feel compelled to tell you that the picture above is not a picture of me wearing Daisy Dukes.