May 30, 2010

A Not-So-Friendly Stroll

We are watching a neighbors dog for the next couple days and so my wife and I decided to take it for a walk earlier tonight. The neighborhood we live in is older where the garages are behind the houses accessible through narrow alleys. So for our walk tonight we decided to step out the back door and stroll down the alley.

I'm not sure why it hit me so hard but an interaction we had with a guy down the block left me speechless.

Tomorrow is trash day. Everyone sets their trash bins out in the alley to be emptied in the morning. As we were walking, an older guy was putting trash in his bin. There was a clear moment of eye-contact, and inside that moment my wife and I both said "hello". The guy simply stood there, looked at us, said nothing, turned and walked back into his fenced yard. We kept walking despite being completely dumbfounded.

I'm not sure I've ever had such a blatant display of rudeness. Or maybe I have but for whatever reason this one got to me. I couldn't help but start to wonder what has happened or is happening in this guy's life that would cause him to be so mean. I say this because this is not the first time I have had an encounter like this with the same guy but this one was the most blatant.

The other thing I started to think about...what do my interactions with strangers tell them about me, my life or more importantly my faith? What about yours?


DavidT said...

Don't take it personally. He might be deaf, or just socially inept. Perhaps he's mute or otherwise can't talk, or is embarrassed to talk.

Joe Garrison said...

Simlar thing happened to us last night. Neighbors on two sides of us were having parties outside with eachother. We were sitting on our back step (maybe wanting to see if we'd get a last minute invite to meet them all).

One lady walked her dog directly through our yard. I kind of waited for her to make eye contact to introduce ourselves. She deliberately looked the opposite direction to avoid us and not even say a simple 'hey'.

I mean it's no big deal, but I feel like you should at least give a friendly 'hello' when walking through the new neighbors yard.

Matt Lipan said...

DavidT: i have to admit i did not factor in the possibility of being deaf or mute, though i'm pretty sure he wasn't blind and i have met very polite individuals who have been deaf and/or mute.

Joe Garrison: i agree. having someone walk their dog through your yard as you are sitting there is awkward. not even saying 'hey' makes it rude.