How friendly are my fellow Brightonians I wondered, and decided to do an experiment (thank you Jay of kill the goat providing the inspiration). Out on my daily pre-lunch walk yesterday I beamed a smile at every person I met: man, woman and child, to see how many would smile back.
Hmmm… although a fair number did return my smile (and yes, men far out-numbered the women, and no, there were no tears from frightened children, thankfully I don't appear to be that scary-looking), what really surprised me was that the staggering majority were so busy staring at the ground in front of their feet that they missed my friendly grin altogether.
My father once philosophised that only country bumpkins look at other peoples faces on the street. According to his theory, born and bred city-dwellers are too jaded to be curious in other people. Maybe he’s right, but there are other things to rest our gaze upon other than our fellow human beings.
I hereby pledge that for the remainder of this week I will not look down more than I have to (it’s probably a good idea to quickly scan the ground ahead for dog poo and open man holes). I will also continue smiling at my fellow renegades. And I don’t care if that labels me a yokel.