Saturday, June 9, 2007
1:54:20 AM CDT
Hearing Ain't Even Done with the Night - John Cougar
In the stillness...you will know me.
I have a rather annoying habit that drives the people who notice it insane. Of course, I have a lot of annoying habits, but this one really seems to get a huge array of responses.
My hugely annoying habit is staring at people. I really don't purposely mean to do it, I just seem to scan a room, focus on someone and begin to wonder about their lives.
Most people don't seem to notice that I do it. It just validates my opinion that the world is getting far more self centered and not seeing past their own noses. It's not that I think they do it out of vanity necessarily, I think it's because as the world has grown colder, people have trained themselves not to become involved with others around them. If they don't partake in the social surroundings, there's no danger of being hurt, these days, mentally or actually physically. That's really a sad way of living.
For me, I don't think it's that I don't give a squat if it bothers someone, rather I'm just too tempted in my curiosity of people, and I'm all the more prepared to defend my actions if someone gathers offense to my habit. I've only actually had one person come up and ask me why I was staring at them, did I know them and they didn't remember me? I simply told her exactly what I was observing; A beautiful moment spent between her and her family. The woman wasn't at all offended after hearing my explanation, in fact, I think she was rather flattered.
Other people I have observed, who catch me staring at them seem to get that completely uncomfortable look about them, as if I was judging them, or sizing them up for some reason. I quickly try to divert my attention to relieve them of the discomfort.
Usually when I notice that I'm staring off at someone, I'm not necessarily thinking bad thoughts, like; Gee, that dude is ugly. I find that when I find something repulsive or offensive I simply choose not to look at it and try not to notice it. I once was observing a trio of friends spending a late afternoon together having lunch. I began to find myself missing the days when I spent much time with my friends and just talked and enjoyed each others company, when all of a sudden, this one guy, who to me appeared a bit intoxicated, sneezed rather profusely all over his lunch as well as his friends' lunches. They all sat there in disgust. The woman of the trio finally located an unused napkin and quickly forwarded it to her obviously impolite friend to clean himself with. Needless to say, after that episode, the luncheon was over, and I hope the gentleman sobered up and apologized the next day.
My English Professor once told the class that good writers observe the world around them and transform thoughts, ideas and conversations into interesting tidbits and stories. Well, that was an intense thought, but he really didn't tell me anything on that particular occasion, that I hadn't been doing for as long as I can remember. In fact, Kevin often asks me when he catches me doing it; why are you staring at that person?
Tonite the family usually does what I affectionately call, "Pizza and a Movie Night". It is basically what it is, renting movies, getting a pizza and chillin' out. Every once in a while though, the troops decide to con Kevin and I into taking them out for dinner, and since we really don't go out to eat much anymore, we aren't terribly objectionable to it unless the cash flow is tight that particular week. The kids begged us to take them to the Hometown Buffet.
I really don't mind the joint, in fact, it's rather comfortable to be at. The kids get to eat what they want and everyone seems to get their fill. No complaints on my cooking that nite! It's also an awesome bonus that Megan's old daycare provider is now the shift manager there and Megan loves to see her and ask her about what she was like as an infant.
After everyone got their plates full, I found myself doing my usual habit of scanning the room and my environment. I don't think I'm necessarily looking for a familiar face, perhaps it's because I"m looking for the beauty in the world. I just couldn't tell you why I've done this forever. I seemed to draw my attention to a woman sitting a few seats away from us, quietly enjoying her dinner with what I envisioned was her husband. Both of them looked like they were well seasoned, they were probably in their mid to late 40's, but both of them seemed enraptured in each other. As the husband spoke, her eyes met his as if she hung on every word he allowed to escape his lips. He seemed just as interested in what she had to contribute to the conversation as well.
As I was beginning to imagine what her life was like; children grown, maybe even a grandchild on the way, spending her days with the man she loved, she looked back at me as intensely as I gazed upon her. Now that took me about 5 paces back. It was almost as if she was reading the thoughts that were going through my head, or maybe it was her polite way of saying, "Stop staring at me you ditzy broad!". Her look was so warm, so loving, that I could only believe she was probably wonderin' about me too.
Over the years, I've taught myself not to consume my thoughts with worry over what people thought of me. I've tried to climb impossible mountains with the hope of fitting in or feeling that sense of belonging. The sad point of it is, is that you either do or you don't and in the end, you have to live with yourself and the demons you create. I hope I can teach my children to be true to themselves and who they are within themselves rather than try to become someone they aren't.
In order to be loved, you have to love yourself. If you want to have a friend that you can trust and will always care for you, be that friend to yourself first and foremost. It's impossible to give to others what you refuse to even give to yourself.