Whilst running across Blackheath the other day - oh, how is my jogging going? It’s going very well, thank you for asking, I’ve now built up my fitness to a point where I can do a lap of Greenwich park, now please don’t interrupt again or we’ll be here all day – whilst running across Blackheath some kind souls in a parked car gave me an encouraging wave. Which was nice.
I’m not used to be waved at. Jeering, yes, that happens occasionally, usually from kids, and I think, ‘Oh, twenty years, and you’ll either be suffering as I am or you’ll be so fat you’ll look like the “before” picture on an exercise DVD.”
But waving is delightful. It’s a thing we grow out of. When I was a kid, every day was like being in The Railway Children. You’d be encouraged to wave to passing trains, boats, planes. Any sort of vehicle. On school trips, on the back seat, you’d be waving to any following motorists. In fact, sometimes you’d give them your whole repertoire of amusing hand gestures.
But now... waving is rare. I daresay it’s because parents now worry that if their children wave to a passing train, one of the passengers might a paedophile who would derive some ghastly pleasure from seeing a child motioning in a welcoming fashion.
We need more waving. We need more spontaneous displays of friendliness. People saying ‘bless you’ when you’ve sneezed. Offering you a tissue. Asking you if you’re alright after you’ve just been run over. And yet... sometimes, on the train, I’ll resist the urge to offer someone a polo, because I’m afraid they might take offence, they might misconstrue the offer.
...Then I got home and discovered my shorts had split up the back. Ho ho ho.