So here it was Thursday 5:00 am. I was out on a brisk early morning walk with two very active, very happy dogs. As I walked, I considered the tasks in front of me for the day. I also noticed the yards, the homes, the sky, the foliage. My thoughts drifted to Thanksgiving and then to the upcoming weekend and to my kids, my friends, my life. Happy, happy happy. Downright perky! And it was just the top of the day.
As I was coming into the home stretch, I saw a man approaching us on the sidewalk. Aware that the dogs were a tad feisty, I stepped into a driveway to allow the guy to have the sidewalk. He was maybe thirty years old, lots of dark hair on his head and face, wearing athletic clothes, with ear buds dangling but not plugged in. As he approached I greeted him with a perky "Good Morning" and he scowled back, "Can you keep your dogs off of me?". Mind you, Ellie had bounced up as he walked by but had not touched him. I replied. "That's what I am trying to do!" and gave Ellie an extra little attention. What I noticed, though, was the instant deflation I felt, as if someone had just taken away my good morning.
That downward dive lasted about a block or so as I regrouped. It occurred to me to wonder what had been going on in that guy's life. Perhaps his girlfriend kicked him out yesterday or he was hungry or he was pissed because he wasn't a morning person and he didn't want to be out taking a walk at this hour. It also occurred to me that now I COULD go home and be cranky with Michael or, if I had little kids at home, scowl a bit at them because my good morning had been seized away. I do believe that I have a choice about these sorts of things, though. I refused to get caught in the ripples of that dude's cranky morning. But someone else might have been carried away by his cranky ripples and that's the way negative stuff spreads out in the world. I recovered within a block but someone else might have taken his scowl and moved it further along in the world. I would rather create ripples of smiles and cheerfulness. Life is just better that way. Agree or disagree?