Yesterday I decided that I wanted to say Good Morning to the people I pass while walking home. Usually I do the just-look-straight-ahead thing, and get very nervous or feel awkward when passing people. I will want to say Hello or Good Morning, but then get too caught up in what they might think of me, "Will I just be annoying them?" That sort of stuff.
All in all, it was a great success! I gave out 5 Good Mornings and got 4 back. The last lady was hooked into an ipod or something, and was the only person who seemed slightly annoyed. I also got an unsolicited Good Morning from a cyclist that passed me (and I happily reciprocated), which was the first a cyclist ever talked to me. So that was nice. There was one older fellow who was shirtless and walking towards me. I seriously doubted if I wanted to say anything to him, fearing he was a creepy, potentially belligerent guy that I didn't want to encourage. But when he got closer, he said, "It was just too hot out," with a laugh, which immediately put me at ease, and I gave him a hearty Good Morning. He returned my Good Morning with much enthusiasm too. It was an interaction that I would have avoided at all costs before, but am glad I put myself to the challenge. I just felt happier and lighter after my Good Morning exchanges, especially so after this shirtless guy one.
There were a couple times I didn't say Good Morning because the people were having a conversation or the person looked like they were taking a few moments to enjoy the river view. I was okay with that. So I'll continue to say Good Morning or Afternoon to fellow path walkers, and work my way up to just random people I may see elsewhere.