I’ve never been sure if it is simply unsettling or outright rude when people over the age of four transgress their social boundary with a hovered gaze. Only recently has this led to some real confrontation.
- Yesterday I shamed my spinning student when I announced to the class that I was staring her down. That did the trick and she looked away (note: she explained later that she often just “zones” by staring at the teacher…but, still….).
- Later in the day in a cafe, I found myself unable to listen to my friend catch me up because the woman next to us – while pretending to eat her Waldorf salad – overtly stared at us each time one of us uttered a word. Remember, this was a cafe folks – not a library. So I kept looking back at her and mercifully, she would back down. However….every time we resumed our conversation, she jumped right back in, compelling me to simply stare her down. Result? She let out a nervous smile, got up and left 1/3 of her salad there. Mission accomplished! (Of course, this was a Seinfeld moment that only video can fully capture).
- The coup de grace came today in Sausalito when I failed to notice one of the thousands of self-entitled cyclists crowding up the (AUTOMOBILE) route. Alas, my blissful Sunday afternoon happy place was interrupted by an abrupt, childish fist thump on my car accompanied by some choice expletives and accusations. My natural response immediately kicked in: gleefully smile back! But, this didn’t lead to victory; rather than use his endorphins for their stress-relieving purpose (come on: Sausalito, sunny Sunday afternoon with a clear blue SF Bay view?), he proceeded to ride up to my car, scream at me and threaten to call the police. Which only drove me to smile at him more.
While I technically “lost” this third face-off, it somehow felt the most gratifying.