July 22nd, 2009


Why Are You Looking at Me?

We're a curious people. Its in our nature. Some like to peoplewatch; that is, observe without contact in an attempt to muse upon their target's agenda for entertainment purposes.

I'm not one of those people.

When I was young I noticed that most people in other cars looked directly at you while passing or being passed. Idle curiosity I assumed. Invariably the spied-upon driver would look back. No nods were ever passed, or waves exchanged like motorcyclists do when confronted with each other on a reverse approach. Just a glance. But I'm a fairly private person. So I refrain from doing that when driving. In fact, I haven't looked at another driver in a very long time. I'm usually too busy watching the road and my mirrors anyway.

One of my pet peeves surrounds what I consider an awkward response when entering the men's room. No matter which level of activity the other occupants are engaged in at the time, many will take the time to turn and see who's coming in - something else I never do. Furthermore when looked at in this surrounding, I don't acknowledge the seeker. I have zero interest in ascertaining attendance, and often wonder why others do.

Despite these shortcomings, I do greatly enjoy eye-contact. I've been told my gaze conveys trustworthiness. But I reserve those times for my mother, my lovers or my children. Those I'm intimate with. Close friends and co-workers. For awhile I tried making sincere overtures to waitstaff - I'd read somewhere that is was disrespectful not to do so. But I found I couldn't keep it up. As an introvert, it took far too much energy. Besides, I tip well - and I'm sure between eye-contact and cash, waitstaff would rather have the cash.

Some countries I've been to find it disrespectful to look another person in the eye. I flourished in those cultures.

But there are those I run across those who are adverse to my hesitance. A co-worker mentioned that she wanted to take me out to lunch for my birthday. I thanked her - it was very sweet, and we often enjoy lunch together on any given day, then explained that I was never one to celebrate birthdays, and did in fact prefer them to be non-events. She said she understood, but enjoyed making a big deal about milestone birthdays. I explained that I was especially adamant about those remaining ignored.

If I am capable of understanding that some people feel strongly about their perspective, why do I have such a hard time convincing others I feel just as strongly about mine?
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    Green Day - Dookie