#letslook precedes #letstalk in my latest round of unscientific research from my 2017 January adventure. In case you missed the intro … http://www.moodivator.ca/the-passing-of-the-glance/
As intended I purposely walked past and looked at 1500 people over a three week period all around Oakville. Being a designated underachiever, I set my sights low. I merely wanted to see how many of them would at least glance back at me in a flash of a nanosecond to signal “I see ya,” nothing more. If they perhaps punctuated it with a smile … well, that was a welcomed and unexpected bonus.
The stats: out of 1500 stroll-by’s I collected 244 glances and 83 smiles.(For the statistician that equates to 16% glances and 5.5% smiles.) I must be honest, of those ‘glances’ many nonverbally growled “what the f*** you looking at?” and if there was just a hint of acknowledgement of my existence, their thought bubble droned “stay outa my way” or on the chatty side, “have a day.” Few had what I call ‘friendliness in their eyes’ as most were unaware they were still wearing their ‘alone in the privacy of their bathroom face’.
Clearly our personal space bubbles have been grossly magnified over the years. And most definitely, our peripheral vision is sadly diminishing as our fear of each another increases.
Although I hit every major hub in Oakville from the GO station to the hospital and all malls, rec centres and public areas in-between, my most interesting findings came from Sheridan College. Of 6 smiles of 238 stroll-by’s, 5 came from a group of ‘middle eastern looking’ young men. As we crossed paths on a short
staircase, each one, looked directly at me and smiled. They made my day.At that same location as I past a security guard and fulling anticipating a glance, he turned his head in the other direction. Ah, buddy if you should be looking at anyone it’s the person (me) who does not look like they belong (one of these persons is unlike the other). You missed an essential part of your training. But then again the Oakville Place security guard ignored me as well.
A young addict friend of mine once shared with me that the opposite of addiction is connection. I was reminded of this when I read a recent article in the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html It confirmed the notion. In that article, reference is made to the writer “George Monbiot who has called this “the age of loneliness.” We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before.”
As I think about both the conversation and the article and then my own research, I have to wonder. How can we possibly connect and then hopefully talk as the Bell’s vital program suggests (thank you Clara Hughes), if we cannot even look a each other and hence see the other person who might be hurting? It’s easy to ‘talk’ online, via email or with our thumbs … but each lack ‘real’ expression, emotion and truth. I believe it’s when we are face-face, eyeballs-eyeballs that we see, feel, listen and understand. And typically what follows is acceptance and respect … precisely what we are lacking today.
So my friends I challenge you to take the blinders off and take in the sights of those around you. Look at them-see them-maybe even smile at them and who knows, you may even engage in conversation. And heavens, you might even start a relationship. You’ll never know what it can lead to or where it might lead you unless you dare to feast your eyes on the beautiful faces headed in your direction.
PS If you ever feel like chatting over coffee, I’ll treat. And I promise to listen with my ears, my eyes and my heart ~!!~