Eye contact with strangers. It's a curious thing to me. It seems like there are moments of eye contact through out my life that I've never forgotten, the worst of which I had where else but right here in Miami the other night. It made me think about the weirdness of the connection with total strangers in those moments and how, thankfully, they haven't all been bad.
I remember when I was maybe eight years old? I'm not sure, but I watched a lot of basketball games with my dad. Of course I was a huge Utah Jazz fan. I was also a Sizzler fan (read: all-you-can-eat buffets = chubby little girl heaven). We were out eating at Sizzler one time with my family when I happened to turn over my left shoulder and notice Karl Malone sitting at the table just kitty-corner from us. WOW. All through dinner I kept trying to subtly crank my head around to stare at him, then whip it back around when I was sure he was about to look. Well, one time I wasn't fast enough, and sure indeed he caught my stare in a moment of eye lock, then broke into a smile and winked at me before I realized what had happened, turned scarlet red, and whipped back, somewhat mortified to our table. As embarrassed as I was, I'm also sure it was exciting as it was my first real famous person sighting, he actually winked at me, and I'm pretty sure he got a good chuckle out of it. That one wasn't so bad.
Then there was another time when I think I was in college. I was in the checkout line at a K-Mart or something and remember singing my heart out to the tune playing overhead. Until I happened to lock eyes again with probably a 65 year-old man to find us simultaneously belting out the tune together. That was a little weird. And embarrassing as I realized there was no reason in the world I should know all the words to this song as it was definitely from his generation, not mine - something like the Carpenters or some other old sing-your-heart-out band. I was with roommates who noticed and were instantly teasing me like - why in the world are you the only person under 60 in here that even knows this song? Really? You and the old guy serenading each other from across the checkout line? That one was ridiculous.
Then I remember being in prime flirtation mode back in the college years. Provo is a college town with two universities in it and is notoriously a meat-market. We were just heading out of town to go on a camping trip down in Zion National Park and had stopped to get gas. Being the cool aunt I was, I had invited my 16 year-old nephew and his friend to tag along with us. As I was gassing up the car, I caught eyes with a hot guy across the gas station. It was one of those moments of eye contact. The good kind. As we finished, I got back in the car and the guy made his way over in his car and stopped to say something on his way out. I'm not sure what he said, but out of the back seat of my car I hear my nephew pipe up, "Dude! That's my mom!!!" Red-faced and flabbergasted, I peeled out of the parking lot before I had to see his reaction. That one was mortifying.
Well, just the other night I was driving back through the ghetto that is our nearest neighborhood. Driving past a few houses, I see some middle-aged white lady bouncing up and down. I watch, as I'm approaching. No, it's some kind of dance she's doing. Hmm, what is all that weird bootie-shaking? I'm fascinated. And then I'm there. And our eyes meet, and her eyes follow, locked on mine as she continues to bounce up and down, knees bent. And then I realize it. Oh no. She's not dancing. She's squatting. In the middle of the sidewalk. She's going to the bathroom. And we just locked eyes in the middle of her doing that. For a good 4-5 seconds. And I feel so disgusted!!! Ugh, come on! Where is the humanity?! I feel so wronged! How could you stare me in the face while you are in the middle of that?! And are you like drip drying or what?! I mean, guys peeing on the street here, I don't even blink an eye at that any more, but this was a whole new level. And the eye contact. Oh the eye contact. I think I had nightmares for days. That one was definitely the worst.