AWKWARD eye contact
I recently discovered my 11th grade English class journal. I did not enjoy this year of English, the teacher was a drone. Very nice, but very boring. Except for the assignment as the end of the year when we had to make a speech saying all that we wanted to say before we graduated high school. I remember the funny speeches and I remember the surprising ones. This journal included at least 2 entries per week; one had to be a response to a quote, article, comic strip, etc. and one had to be a personal entry.
I read through all of these papers with a little bit of nostalgia and a LOT-a- bit of shock.
I was an ass!
Snarkier than I remembered, more close-minded than I remembered, and not really as funny as I thought I was. However, every once in awhile, an entry would stick out like a hidden gem and it would restore my hope in the memory of my 18 year old self as a compassionate, profound wanderer (I had not yet chosen a career path or college and was dabbling in many professional pursuits to figure it out).
We studied a good deal of Henry David Thoreau that year so this entry began with a quote of his: “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”
This was 18 year old me’s writing:
People don’t like eye-contact. In fact, they will full-out avoid it. Walk through the halls and see who actually look you right the eye, smiles, and says “hello.” I guarantee you that the majority of the people you pass in the hallway will, all of a sudden, shuffle through their papers in a folder or look everywhere but at you. Is it because, as seclusive individuals, we don’t want others to see our flaws? Or because we don’t know who we are and are afraid someone will see who we can be? I think it’s an issue of insecurity and confidence in one’s self. And what if someone does recognize something about us just from one instant? Could it be called ‘less than a miracle’ for someone to notice something none other bothered to stop and see?
In tango, THANK GOD we don’t dance and look each other in the eyes. How awkward! How hazard inducing! HOW AWKWARD!
It would be awkward.
And yet, when I get the chance to sit down with a tango friend, I am most mesmerized by how strange their eyes look. By strange, I mean unfamiliar. It makes me feel like I am looking at a person I barely know. Even though I may know them very well, I get the feeling that I have merely scratched the surface of who they are and what their heart holds.
But then we dance. And I feel that I know much, much more about them…without even opening my eyes.