Your recent blog about using pub toilets reminded me of a similar street-etiquette problem that bothers me in a neurotic way. When you’re walking down a long, straight street and you see an acquaintance – not a good pal, nor someone you know only vaguely – who is walking towards you but a long way off, what do you do? I mean, do you smile and wave, and then avoid eye contact in the drawn out minutes as you approach each other? Or do you make a quick acknowledgement – just a raised brow, perhaps – and then fix them in your view as you prepare to converge? Or do you affect not to have seen them at all?
Living on a long straight street, this happens to me quite often, and I must admit I usually go for the first option – but feel bit self-conscious afterwards. The fact that I can’t now think of what the any other person has ever done in return suggests that my mind is overly troubled by this manners issue; I can’t be sure it’s specifically middle class, but it does seem to me to be middle class to fret about it. If anyone has any liberating advice, I should love to hear it.