‘Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact” I said to myself.
“It’s OK to look at your hands, look at your shoes, look at his beard or look at anything else, but just don’t make eye contact”.
Because, looking him in the eye might mean receiving the instant verdict. He knew if I had been bad or good. He knew if I had been naughty or nice.
“For goodness sake, Rob, just don’t look Santa Claus in the face.”
I remember my first trips to see Santa like they were yesterday.
I’m all grown up and I now look more like St. Nick than I act like him. Just the same, I usually keep the eye contact to a minimum.
In fact, you could say that tis’ the season to avoid eye contact.
Christmastime naturally puts us in contact with so many people. Many of those nice people could be friends, co-workers or family members, depending upon the occasion. Those people we are most glad to see. But it also puts us in situations where we encounter more people that we aren’t so comfortable being around.
Walk down the main street of any town. Unless you cross paths with a good friend, chances are you’ll avert your eyes from theirs. Besides, there are windows to shop, piles of snow to kick and plenty of other things to look at other than the inner souls of passersby.
Ever had “lunch” at Sam’s Club or any of those stores that offer samples of edible products? You know what I mean. You’re out shopping and your stomach is growling. Just as you round the corner of the canned goods aisle, there stands a person in a lab coat and hairnet offering up bite sized portions of something that smells so good.
The problem is that what they’re offering tastes pretty good too, and “any number” is the amount of samples that you’d like to fill up on. So as you make return trips to inauspiciously grab seconds, thirds and beyond, your mission includes never, ever making repeat eye contact.
Walk through a business expo, a craft bazaar or encounter a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. Same thing happens.
You are curious as to what is being offered, but making eye contact with the vendor/ringer nearly creates an unwritten contract that you will either talk about, sniff or contribute to whatever they are representing.
And even if that is not the case, is it really worth taking the chance?
Better to just subtly grab a sample ink pen, jar opener or business card and just keep moving.
I could include elevators, waiting rooms and airports in the places that we see eye to eye on not needing excess eye contact.
Even in our own homes, caller ID is what we employ to censure out the unwanted outsider eye contact.
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday fare. Just keep moving people. Check out the window displays or look at your shoes. Just avoid as much eye contact as possible.
It’s human nature to keep ourselves to ourselves, but I encourage you to look around this season. As you head out to shop, put a smile on your face and a little extra joy in your heart. It will make your own mission a little easier and if you make eye contact with a stranger perhaps some of your joy will spill out to someone else.