A message from a good friend, who encountered some rock-throwing youth last night. I hope no one was hurt by them after oval races!
“i just got back from a ride and was coming down e lib blvd around 820pm. just before negley run, on a dirt path and partially hidden by trees were 4 kids, probably 14-15, with big rocks in hand. for some reason i happened to look over to see them before they threw and said “hey guys!” so instead of rocks, i got a “wassup, n*****” and probably some other nasty stuff i couldn’t hear.
keep yr eyes peeled and your intuitions sharp!”
I asked her about how she knew they had rocks, etc, and she said
“i saw the rocks that were about to be hurled at me in their bloody little hands. and they were big rocks. not just a few pebbles. but fist size. their grubby paws were wrapped around them! it was like a moment of instant clarity in which i could see everything, the rocks, their faces, what they were wearing, etc. i hope no one got stoned. but, it was before negley run, so if the racers came up neg run and took a right, they should be totally fine. ugh ugh ugh!”
and lastly, she believes that seeing them, looking them in the eyes, and then saying with a big smile, HI GUYS! made an impact….
“i literally busted this huge smile and was just like “hey guys!!!” i think that’s good. it’s like, oh ,she sees me, she isn’t evil, and in fact, she just acknowledged me. or else they were totally bewildered. these kids probably don’t come from the best homes and if i can smile and say hi, maybe that will make them think twice. “
+1 on the awesomeness of a smile (no matter how insincere) averting a crisis.
i pretty much always try to smile and make eye contact with strangers (unless they’re vulnerable and look like they would feel safer if you just pretended you didn’t see them or were afraid of them). it seems to make people’s days brighter, and it certainly does mine.
but this afternoon i did it to someone at the bus stop, and he just kept looking at me like i did something weird, the whole time we were there.
Yeah. I always say “Hello” to people that I pass when I’m out walking or biking, or to other cyclists stopped at the same intersection as I am. About 50% of the time, I get a hello back. The other half is a mix of blank stares, completely ignoring me, belligerent glares, and the occasional “WTF? Someone is speaking to *me*?” look.
It doesn’t stop me at all. Perhaps after a few hellos, people will realize that it’s a harmless courtesy.
Of course, this really applies to when I’m walking around my neighborhood. If I stopped to say hello to every pedestrian downtown, I wouldn’t get anywhere