On those slightly awkward occasions where you meet a work colleague in a work corridor.
I'm sure everyone does the thing where you try not to make eye contact until you're very close, so you can just say hello and walk past without having to walk for ages towards each other pulling weird faces which are intended to mean "I'd say something, but we're still too far away and it'd be impolite to shout. I'll definitely say hello in a moment or two."
But, after the hello and the walk past have happened, do you ever find yourself thinking back to the moment and realising that you're not sure whether you actually made a noise? Did you in fact just whisper "hello"? Maybe you even just mouthed it, made no sound at all. Why on earth did you do that?
And when you do the simultaneous hello thing, but "hello" isn't good enough for the awkward sod coming the other way. No. They have to say "How are you?" What do you do now? Was it a rhetorical question? Just an alternative to "Hello"? Are you supposed to answer? But you've already walked past! You'd have to stop in order to say anything worthwhile, and that'd be even more awkward. You hardly know this person!
Again, all thoughts that go through my head afterwards, when I've already ignored their question. Was I rude? Or was it expected?
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." - Douglas Adams
"You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place."
"That's why animals are so soft and huggy."
- Calvin and Hobbes
To err is human, to moderate ursine.