A local character in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Oakland is where the colleges and hospitals of the city are concentrated, so there are lots of people here during the day. The how-ya-doing guy gets his name from the fact that he says "How ya doing?" and waves to EVERYONE he meets on the street. Its kinda silly to watch him go down the street, and he'll sometimes go out of his way to say "How ya doing?" to people. He is a middle aged slightly overweight Italian man. Most people smile politely and say "Hi" in response. The how-ya-doing guy is obviously mentally ill.

My first encounter with the how-ya-doing guy was when I was a sophomore in college. I just bought some dinner and was heading back to my dorm when he approached me. I had a short conversation with him and I was honestly a little worried he was going to try to follow me home. This is because he was talking to me, people aren't supposed to do that. After a few minutes a woman was walking in the other direction and he said "Goodbye" and started up talking to her instead.

I'm usually a friendly person, not outgoing in the least bit, but if someone starts talking to me I'll have a conversation with them no matter who they are. He doesn't say much so I haven't really gotten to know him at all. I've discovered that he has a standard formula of questions that he asks, which goes something like this: "What did you do today?", "What are you going to do tonight?", "Do you still work at Wendy's?" (I used to).

I think he's a very interesting character and I like him. He has though raised a few questions in my mind. I've become aware how strange it is that I pass at least 300 people a day (probably more) just walking down the street or going into stores but I don't talk to or even say "hi" to even 1% of them. In fact someone who goes out of his way to say "hello" to everyone he meets is the weirdo in the situation. I've never lived in a small town, but I've always imagined that people who do always say "hello" to each other. This just seems to make more sense. After thinking about this perplexing situation enough I'm no longer sure who I should say "hi" to and who I should pretend to ignore. And that's the strangest thing about living in a city, you're supposed to pretend to ignore most of the people out there. Honestly its hard to just ignore that there are all these people around me. It feels kinda wrong to blow them all off, but this is what I do. So in a way the how-ya-doing guy is doing something extremely heroic, and I really respect him for what he does.

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