Monday, February 16, 2009

ok, ok, perhaps i was too hasty

I just had one of those awkward moments that makes me think the African wasn't mentally ill after all (see previous post). I was walking the dog through the neighborhood and experienced anxiety because there was someone else walking down the sidewalk towards me.

You know how it is when you see someone coming from very far off -- you're too far off to acknowledge each other but you're too close to pretend you can't see each other. What do you do during those many awkward moments as you walk toward each other trying to figure out what to do?

What I did today was 1.) I hoped the dog would do something I could focus on to help me avoid any contact with the stranger coming down the sidewalk -- she didn't. 2.) I glanced at the woman walking towards me then looked away and pretended to be interested in the sound of children playing behind a fence across the street. Then 3.) When we were close enough to interact, I made a grimacy sort of smile and nodded stiffly. All the while I felt anxious.

Why??? Why so much anxiety?

I'd prefer to be more comfortable, to feel easier about just looking at strangers, smiling at them, saying hello. I don't know why there's so much anxiety in these little anonymous interactions. I don't feel quite as smug anymore as I did at the laundromat earlier. I feel bad for the African -- somebody should have warned you buddy. We Americans are *weird*


Blogger Joolie B said...

We have a very long hallway at work. Seriously, it's like a block long. And so I have to deal with the awkward distance interaction equation constantly, and with people I know besides. I've worked in this building for eight years and I still haven't figured it out.

9:42 PM  
Blogger south carolina girl said...

it gets me too. seems worse on dif days. some days i am so open i just smile at everyone and when they avoid me i feel like i must have cooties and it hurts my feelings. other days i am open and i just smile and the oncoming person smiles back. other days i'm so scared of eye contact i pretend i am looking carefully at the ground for articles that might cause me to trip.

7:05 PM  

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