Hay Is for Horses

On my walk I passed a woman coming the other way. I smiled and said, “Hey.” “Hello, ” she said. Then she fixed me with her gaze and said, “Hay is for horses.” And kept on walking. It took me a minute to absorb her meaning and her rudeness. When we lived in Boston I learned that up there “Hey” sounded to some like being accosted. So I tried to say “Hi” or “Hello” instead. But how strange to be corrected on my home turf. The incident still with me, I passed two men talking in front of a house, and one of the men turned to me, smiled and said, “Hey!”