You know when the person you are talking about looks right at you and knows you are talking about them?
Polite people look away. I mean that is what years of shame training and being taught to be nice is supposed to do right? Well at least that is how it works in Canada. We always apologize for catching someone looking at us and talking about us. Always.
I got caught at dinner the other night. I was in Australia where no-one apologizes for anything. You just head nod and say “she’ll be right mate.”
I guess I should be thankful I am not caught more often. If I wasn’t grateful before, I am now. I will never take that blessed place of peace and quiet for granted ever again. Not being caught is the bomb!
Ever since my hunny bunny and I first met we do this thing when we are out together where we make up stories about the people sitting near us. They are great stories. You would not believe what incredibly fascinating lives other people live … at least in our heads. People should thank us for making them such interesting people.
We kinda feed off one another … like sharks spurred on by blood . . . except the tops of our heads are not as pointy, we are not in the pool, and the only blood is coming from hubby’s steak. Instead of chum we use people around us, and instead of death and mayhem we use humour. Once we get going there is no stopping us, although once I choked on the pickle I was eating because I was laughing so hard and there was a momentary pause.
Well the other night these people came into the restaurant and the only thing they were missing was perhaps a marching band. Other than that, they succeeded in drawing everyone’s attention to them with their effective use of outdoor voices and extravagant hand movements and loud, hyena like laughing. I think it probably annoyed the crap out of them that other people were breathing their air in their restaurant. I even momentarily considered throwing myself on my fork and just ending it right there because it was the humane thing to do, unworthy that we were . Several more people joined their table and there was much more exaggerated attention seeking and tossing of jewelled hands, and designer bags, and artificially reproduced noses.
I felt like one lucky little vegemite to be allowed to sit their in their splendiforous presence.
And this one lady came in and sat down and she had what looked like a pair of grey sweat pants thrown around her neck. I think she missed the episode on “What Not to Wear” where they carefully explained that a scarf can bring happy complimentary colour up to your face and no-one ever mentioned grey as “complimentary.” However, in her defense, they were probably cost her an arm and a leg, and a kidney and a lung. I bet they even matched her underwear or her shoes. (See I am really trying here. I am actually a nice person!)
But at the time and without the clarity of hindsight, I wondered if she was seated at the wrong table or had forgotten that tonight was the big dinner, and not chips and dips in front of the TV as per usual. You know how sometimes you just wish you could slip someone a piece of paper with a couple of beauty tips on it that would just make all the difference? Just something small, like when the girls stand in front of the judging panel on ANTM and they say, “take off the jacket, add this belt” and suddenly the girl is transformed into a fashion model???? Well my slip of paper to her would have said, ” a brush, pulled gently through the hair, can create the instant illusion that you are NOT a homeless person.”
It was kind of fascinating because she was the “one of these things doesn’t belong here” of the current Sesame Street Episode being held at the restaurant. Perhaps she was so wealthy, and so important she was eccentric . All the other women dutifully kissed her on both cheeks and acted like sweatpants slung around the neck were fabulous. I bet they all ran out the next day and bought their own sweat pants to throw around their necks.
I was thinking maybe I should see if hubby would lend me his pair.
Now I see I was clearly wrong and had no understanding of wealth and in-your-face-iness.
But that night hunny bunny and I discussed her “story” and I had to comment on her sweat pants and speculate and we laughed and high fived one another and well … she caught us looking at her.
And she sat there for a full 10 minutes staring at me. You know when the camera zooms in on the serial killer stalking his prey in the horror movie? Or the dog gets that look in its eye right before it goes for your throat?
It was worse than that.
You look up and you see someone looking at you and they are supposed to look away but they don’t so you look away and then back and they “don’t” some more. And then some more. She was not budging. And I didn’t even try to out stare her because I just wanted my mommy.
I tried to smile at her as in “it’s all good, love your grey sweat pants” but no, not even a crack of relenting. I could feel my skin starting to burn like a bug under a magnifying glass. I shoved my hand in my drink and pulled out the ice and pressed it to my face.
She ignored everyone at her table, said nothing, and stared at me. I was instantly transported back to my childhood when I got pinned on the opposite side of the corral from the gate with the bull that hated me blocking my way. And then he started pawing the ground and snorting and I woke up in the hospital 3 weeks later with a piercing way before they were even that popular.
Sweat pants woman made it really uncomfortable to eat the rest of my meal. The other ladies started to talk to her and she answered them never blinking or looking anywhere but at me … and then they all turned and looked at me. Even the men. Then one of them reached for their cell phone. They were probably dialing 1-800-hitman.
Her drink arrived.
Everyone else at her table had wine. One of the men held up a glass to sweat pants lady’s mouth and she sipped, nodded and approved of, before it was poured . . . for everyone else.
She had a beer.
I think I kinda liked her. I kinda wanted to look for her on Facebook and friend her. You have to admire someone who can sit at the cool kids table, drink beer, and get away with grey sweat pants around the neck. We might have been good friends in another time, another place … like maybe the beer store or the grey sweat pants shop …but not there, not when I was about to be forked or maybe even spooned.
Finally she broke the stare. Hunny Bunny said I should probably come out from underneath the table and sit on my chair again but I wasn’t taking any chances. Sometimes when you know you have just narrowly escaped death, it is best to lay still for awhile, at least until the bottle of wine is gone and the sweat pants lady leaves.
Also I had peed my pants and they needed to dry.