I was going to write about this awesome salad I made…….that’s guacamole along the edges, and beets I peeled and steamed, and all organic!
Or my adorable Violet (aka Spastic Colon) that I overfed with people-food so much that she threw up all over the house. This is her looking at me wondering why I didn’t take her on my walk to the lake. It was 95 degrees outside, that’s why. And you, Violet, poop out after one lap when it gets over 70 degrees. You no longer like the sun. She didn’t understand.
Well, I guess, I just did write about both, but not at length. Here’s the real scoop….
I’ve been walking around the lake near our house, once or twice a day. While I’m walking, I practice eye contact. Eye contact is not something I learn naturally, and not something I ever feel comfortable with. Not something I enjoy. And not something that I like practicing.
I “taught” myself how to make eye contact with strangers at the age of thirty-five. I realized I was having a hard time at it (eye contact), and needed to make a change, the time I was attempting to look up at a male sales clerk at a local take-and-go pizza parlor, and I got so nervous, that I wrote a check for $400 instead of $14. He wasn’t eye candy or even close to my age. But pretty much all males under 80 and over 10 make me nervous. I didn’t realize the error in my ways, until the establishment cashed my check.
I get nervous looking at anyone I do not know well. Especially men. I have become much more comfortable with women my age and older, small children, and senior citizens. They feel safe to me. Every other age group, when I think about locking eyes, I squirm inside from nervousness.
I now set my eyes just beyond a person or on a person’s forehead, in an attempt to appear friendly and approachable. I’d say I make eye contact with 80% of the females I pass (like in a store) and about 40% of males, well maybe 20%.
Lately, I’ve been wearing sunglasses when I walk the lake, and a plastered on real-looking smile. I listen to music and this helps me smile. And I remember all the smiles I’ve been practicing in the mirror and on camera. My face fidgets all over the place, while my smile tries to find a home. I am more comfortable with my mouth closed. Though I think my teethy smile is prettier. So I probably look perplexed and intense when I smile.
My hugest practice-smiling comes when a man my age approaches me while passing me on the jogging/walking trail at the lake. There are typically a couple dozen of men my age any given day that pass me. I have learned, through trial and error, to stare down the female, if a couple approaches, before I glance very quickly at HER male with a smile. If I smile at the male first, I tend to get a very shifty-darty eyed look from the female. I find this interesting, but logical.
I have also found that men about ten years my senior or more, tend to smile at me first, and even nod or say hello, while men my age look suspicious. This could be me jumping to conclusions. I wonder if I should start taking notes.
With every person that passes me, I stand up straighter, glance slightly that person’s way, and then look at the forehead. With sunglasses on, I can hover there longer. Sometimes I get nervous and move down to the chest or legs. Which in retrospect, maybe isn’t such a good path for my eyes to follow. The whole time I’m looking I have a cheesy closed-lip smile and I hold my breath.
I’ve been practicing really super hard, and was feeling fairly pleased with my progress. Until tonight. Now I’m going back to the proverbial drawing board in my mind and trying to connect the eye contact dots.
At the lake, on my last loop around, a man my age approached me. He came up real close. I think he ran up to me from his car. He said, “Hey,” grabbed my wrist gently, and placed a folded small piece of paper in my hand. Between the “Hey” and hand grabbing, I figured this guy had special needs and needed my help.
He didn’t. But that was my first thought—trusting soul I am.
And so I smiled big, wanting him to feel safe, if indeed he had special needs.
As he stood there, I unfolded the note and read it quickly. Kind of in shock, and not fully comprehending what I’d read, I fell back on habit and manners, smiled again, and said with a giddy voice, “Thank you!”
James. Phone number.
I saw you checking me out!
Text me your name.
Hmmmm…..I think I might need some more practice….