What do you do if you are walking around the park with your Dog? I always say " 'Morning" in a clear, straight-out kind of way to everyone I walk past.
As I have now been doing this for some time - and as the Dog is known to lots of people from his walks with Mrs. Lear during the week - I am invariably greeted more effusively than my somewhat flat delivery would warrant.
The problem is, I have no idea who these people are. I recognise some of the dogs ( that's not quite right, the Dog knows the dogs) but, as far as I know, I have little in common with the owners.
So, as a sort of sop, I have instituted a gradation of " Hellos"
People without dogs get the usual " 'Morning."
Those with dogs, who the Dog ignores, but who I have seen before get the full, (stressed first word) "Good Morning."
Those with dogs that the Dog knows, and I recognise, get " Hi there!"
I feel I am doing my bit for good neighbourliness.
I was, however, somewhat taken aback this morning, when, after the "Good Morning" greeting, I quite distinctly heard the lady to whom it was addressed shout " Shut UP!"
On further investigation I noticed she had a mobile clamped to her ear, invisible under the hair and on the other side from where I was walking. I had involuntarily stopped in surprise.
" Shut UP! SHUT UP!" she shrieked. I thought it best to continue walking.
Except, the Dog had decided this was a good spot to stop and sniff, to get the news of the day.
So I stood there somewhat awkwardly as this outwardly respectable lady swore and cursed whoever was at the other end of the call - words a lady should never use I'm sure, but probably frequently does.
She made no attempt to move away, or lower her voice , or moderate her language whilst she berated the poor unfortunate - whose, crime, it would appear, was that HE ( of course) had gone off to do something , when she really really wanted to do something else NOW!
To cut a long story short, the conversation ceased abruptly. At which point the Dog started to move again, and I made to follow him.
" Lovely day!" said the lady waving gaily and walking off.
She had clearly got it all off her chest, and was now quite content, having made his day miserable.