I’m off work today so trying to come back to sharing thoughts. However, I am currently quite full of square sausage and scrambled egg. I’ll do my best.
I made a note on my phone for a potential topic of eye contact. I think this was probably written down on public transport on the way to work. I try to avoid looking at my phone on the way to work and engage with the world a little more, but that tends to end up as staring at the same three or four people in a randomised order who happen to be in close proximity on the tram.
I often wonder what would happen if myself and a stranger accidentally locked eyes and didn’t flinch away. What I picture is an immediate transition to a multi-coloured inter-dimensional tunnel connecting our eyes, like a TARDIS time vortex that connects our souls and passes fundamental truth between us. The more likely scenario is escalating hostility and physical violence.
It’s a little easier if the fellow eye-contactee is in a separate physical space. A bus, or walking on the street. There’s a little more leeway in the time contact can be maintained. The colours of the world start to fade and the vortex begins to form. But then the bus pulls away or turns. Or the person trips over the bollard they haven’t seen.
We’re scared of looking into eyes because it reminds us that everyone we see in the world has an internal life we know nothing about. It’s harder to judge their physical appearance or place them into easily consumable categories if we realise they have known grief and pleasure, they feel the weight of their world every day and have done poos. Loads of poos.
I’m not advocating making eye contact with every stranger, but when that fleeting moment arrives, maybe we could try to acknowledge the connection and smile.
In a follow up to a previous post, I’m off to see Hereditary today. I’m sure I’ll share some thoughts later in the weekend.