when losing is actually winning

noeyecontact

The other day I crossed the road, joining the opposite footpath at an elbow. A ninety degree corner in the road.

Coming towards me was a man.
He made a beeline for the apex of the corner.
That was my trajectory too.
We were on a collision course.
I looked at him, trying to read what his decision might be.
We can work this out, together, I urged.
No obvious signals.
No eye contact.
He stared steadfastly at the corner.
I looked straight at him.
Engage me, I said with my eyes.
Let’s work this through.
Nothing
A second had passed.
He stared at the corner.
No eye contact.
Collision seemed imminent.
Inevitable.
I broke my stride.
Created a gap in our flight paths.
He pushed on through.
I passed safely a pace behind him at the apex.
Disaster averted.
Still no eye contact.
No recognition of my existence.

Strange how eye contact allows the other person in. Denying it seems somehow to keep us safe. Protected. No need to feel any responsibility. Any connection. Any trust. Any shame. Any emotion at all.

The man got the corner.

I got more.

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