Trail Running Bliss and Why People Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Say Hello to Strangers

All that was missing from my run--a few, giant mud puddles to plow through!


Today’s run was a glorious 5 miler on the trails in Newton. A huge fan of trail running, I almost peed myself when I discovered a network of dirt-packed paths a stone’s throw from my office’s door this afternoon. Feeling quite ninja-like as I silently slipped out of the office for a late lunch hour-turned-running hour, I immediately set off on my standard “office 5-miler” loop.  While caught at the intersection just down the street, I looked to my right and I swear I heard Angels singing and the sun instantly began to shine just a bit brighter: There in front of me was a recreation path I’d never noticed before, beckoning me to take a cruise down it.  How could I have missed this during all those previous runs and bike rides home?!

Needless to say, my run with filled less with road-raging Massholes, honking horns, and red light-filled intersections and more with chipmunks, the gentle trickling of the (dirty) Charles, and the blissful feeling of being removed from the hustle & bustle of the city. 5 miles of a head-clearing, lung-busting, negative-split run was just what I needed to kick-start the remainder of my afternoon. As I returned to the office soaked with sweat and red faced, I breezed by the receptionist with a ‘Hello’ and a huge smile–then continued right into the kitchen for my third snack of the day.

Boy Screaming

I can't believe you said Hi to me! What were you thinking?!


Speaking of saying, ‘Hello,’ I’ve noticed an interesting trend since moving here to Boston some 6 years ago: There are A LOT of people who motor down the path or sidewalk without even making eye contact with those they pass, let alone acknowledging the presence of another human being with a simple ‘Hi.’

Seriously, people? It’s not like I’m trying to bite you if I smile at you as you walk by. It also doesn’t mean that I’m going to turn around and follow you wherever you’re going so please, please, for the love of God, try saying ‘Hello’ to a stranger sometime. I promise it’s OK and you’ll feel better about yourself, especially if the person you speak to you returns the well-mannered favor!

Myself, I happen to enjoy saying ‘Hello’ to those I pass while meandering along. I also really enjoy watching people’s expressions when I say ‘Hello’ to them as I pass by. Most of these expressions/responses can be sorted into the following categories:

  • Bitch, Please! OMG, did that person just say HELLO to me!?  Who does she think she is, MaryfuckingPoppins?!  Ugh, the nerve!
  • Huh? Did that person really just acknowledge my presence or did I hallucinate? Is there a rewind button? I’m so confused!
  • “Er, der, eh, uh huh.”  I’m so awe-struck by the simple act of being friendly that I have absolutely no idea how to respond to you, so I will immediately cast my eyes to the ground as I sputter incoherent nonsense at you.
  • “Hello!” (These people are obviously not from New England. They, like I, are some sort of transplant freak show. I like them and wish to encounter more of them. Double, triple, quadruple bonus points if they smile back, too!)

Seriously, one of the best social experiments ever. Try it out yourself the next time you’re out & about and please do report back here–I’m sure we can more to this list of categories!


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