The English “Hi!” is nice and short. Succinct. Pithy.
“Hi!” is what I use at grocery stores, at the gym, on the street. When I pass a woman, I feign a double take, like “oh, there’s another person there,” and eek out a quick, “Hi!” with a half-smile. For some reason I think it’s charming, and I think that they think it’s charming.
Because they see me unprepared. They see me doing my own thing, then seeing them, then blushing and blurting out, “Hi!” for lack of something better to say. Like I’m channeling some absent-minded professor with a crumpled lab coat who dropped his pile of papers and beakers and then a high heel steps by and I look up and adjust my glasses and smile — in awe — and whisper, Hi.
They always smile back. And then that’s it, we both walk in the directions we were walking in, opposite of each other, to the other side of the planet.
It’s not a short-term move — well maybe for others, but I’m not skilled to pull that off — but instead a plant-the-seed method. If I see her a second time, I’ll act even more clumsy, I don’t know, trip over something, and guffaw (guffaw!) and say hi once more. And then on the third time, I’ll engage. “Stop following me! Ha ha ha!” “Ha ha ha,” she’ll laugh.
That’s my move, 3 meetings taking place over 7 years.
What the fuck was my point?
Oh, right. So in Thai, Hi is “Sawadee khrap.” Four goddamn syllables to say hi. Jesus Christ, no woman has the time for that. I’ll be at the grocery store, and purposely-accidentally run into the same single mother in Aisle 6. By the time I’m at “Sawad…” she’s already bolted around the corner to the canned foods aisle.
What am I saying, that if I could just finish saying “Hi!” I’d look less like a creep that preys on single mothers at the Tesco? Yeah.