It all starts with eye contact. Some people avoid it like the plague, others (myself included) lock onto eye contact in a conversation like the giant squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and refuse to let go until we're done talking or the Nautilus sinks, which ever comes first!
Eye contact is how we make our connections, its how we show our intention. It can be a beautiful connection between two people, a sharing of thoughts and feelings and emotions
You're at a party, having a great time, hanging out in one of those little groups of people, all friends, standing in a little circle, enjoying each other's company. But then one person needs to go to the bathroom, one person needs a drink and one person needs more salsa. Suddenly you're standing there, alone, in the middle of the room.
With nothing else to do, you let your eyes wander... and it happens.
|Me? Oh, no my friends were here, I'm just waiting for them to come back. Cool music here at this party.|
|Hey, do I know that per-|
|Oh no... Oh GOD, no!|
It is, quite possibly, the second worse moment in the social spectrum (after peeing your pants on the dancefloor, of course), you have just made eye contact with the one person in the WORLD to whom you can't stand talking... only they don't know that, and they LOVE talking to you.
You cast about wildly, emotionally flailing for something to save you, but your clique is nowhere to be seen and your unintentional eye contact has summoned the beast, the first sensation is sadness.
Followed quickly by dread and rage as you realize that, for the rest of the night you will be stuck listening to a vapid auditory expectorate consisting entirely of celebrity gossip, why you should feel bad for dairy cows, and Glenn Beck quotes.
This sensation is not limited to parties, however.
To set the scene. I was walking to my car from work. It was an overcast day, broiling clouds hung low over the city. The trees were sneezing and the sound of their sternutations was loud in my ears.
About a block in front of me I noticed a man was approaching, walking in that particular manner that instantly informs you that this person really has nowhere to be, they are merely walking... not even walking for the sake of walking... they are just walking, if they arrive somewhere nice, Great! If not... no matter.
Experience has taught me these are the people to be afraid of. I instantly cast my eyes to the ground, and tried to keep them there. It was the party all over again, if I made eye contact with him it would be like opening Pandora's box. I knew the very fibre of his being would become devoted to engaging me in conversation.
So I kept walking, eyes glued to the ground. But suddenly I started to wonder if he was still there. Like the foolish main character in a horror movie, the one you scream at to just assume the killer is dead and leave. "What are you doing?" you shout futilely at the screen. "Don't go examine the killer's body you dumbshit! Just RUN"
|This is what happens...|
If you were watching a movie of me walking you would be cursing at "don't look up, fool! Of course he is still there!"...
I will never again assume that I know more than a horror movie star. I knew I shouldn't look up, I could hear the muted shouts of the universe willing me not to, but I had to know, I had to see for myself. I looked up... and we made eye contact.
In that brief moment I knew, I KNEW, that he had something to say to me. I had signed my own death certificate, the murder had leapt up, knife in hand, and the audience had groaned in frustration at my stupidity.
I couldn't avoid him, he was right by my car, so I moved forward, readying myself for what was to come next. Closer and closer he came, within speaking distance.
"Heck of an Address," he said, laughing.
"I... what?" I had fully intended to remain silent, but I was not prepared for this. At first it seemed to make no sense, but it was almost too random to be random.
"Heck of an Address," he repeated, then pointed across the street at the nearest storefront, where, emblazoned in large white letters, stood the address "2345".
"How cool would it be if it had a one in front of it. Well, see ya," he chuckled.
AND WALKED AWAY.
Had this been the party, this would have been like that awful demon conversationalist walking up, handing you a 100 dollar bill, and walking off without saying a word. I went from expecting this:
to getting this:
Maybe I was expecting the worst, although, to be fair, precedent was on my side. I was so flabbergasted by this short, sweet conversation that I didn't know what to do with myself. This man, while sauntering down the path of life, noticed something funny and decided to share it with me. It was beautiful.
So it is true, it all starts with eye contact, and though, sometimes it ends with you being figuratively stabbed in the face repeatedly by a knife wielding maniac, every now and then it ends with the conversational equivalent of a row of rainbow unicorns.