Saturday, May 21, 2016

Following

I turned thirty a couple months ago.

And if you assume that I learned to walk around the age of one, that means it took me nearly 29 years to realise something about myself and how I tend to walk through crowds...



Toff has always been mildly annoyed at how I tend to walk behind him instead of right along beside him. Unless we are actually holding hands, I typically walk one or two paces behind him when we go anywhere. I don't like to annoy him (okay, that's a lie, I do like to annoy him. What can I say, I have the maturity of an 8 year old child sometimes. But I don't like to be annoying without actively trying to be annoying. That's not my style.) So I started trying to pay attention to why I always fall behind. I even, on occasion, tried to walk in front of him for a change. And then something happens, and I look up, and he's back in front of me. Okay, not a problem, a few quick strides and I'm up beside him again. I hold his hand so I can stay beside him - remember, I'm trying not to annoy him and actually like walking beside him and holding his hand! And then, next thing ya know, I'm two paces back again. Curious.

This scenario has played out so often over the past six years, in so many different places and continents and countries. Secretly, I started to blame him, assuming that when I wasn't paying attention he just started walking faster on his long legs so that I always fell behind. Silly boy!

And then, one day I read one of those Life Hack articles. You know, the ones that tell you to put a pool noodle under the sheets of your kid's bed so they don't roll off in the night or gives you 1,000 uses for old cd cases and bull clips. So this particular article was about people and body language - if someone's feet are turned away from you they actually can't wait to leave the conversation, and if you try to remember someone's eye colour when you meet them you will be more likely to remember their name. And if you are walking through a crowd and keep bumping into people, look instead at the empty spaces to "carve" your path - people automatically move out of the way because they can see by your line of sight where you intend to go. Remember this particular fact for later.

Around the same time, I started seeing all these memes around about avoiding eye contact with people and just avoiding social interaction altogether.

And I thought, "hm, that doesn't sound like me at all!" I like people and being around them and generally talking to anyone that wants to talk to me ...and then something clicked.

Aha! Eureka! That's why I walk behind Toff!! You guys. Whenever I'm around people I make eye contact as often as possible. Whenever I am around people I look from face to face until I get someone to smile back at me. I can't help it (I've tried). What can I say?! I'm a social creature. Actually, come to think of it, my 9 month old does the same thing so that it takes the two of us three times as long to grocery shop because of all the people who stop to talk to her because she smiles at them! My social little 4 1/2 year old asks me every day who is coming over for dinner, and if the answer is "no one," he gets really, really bummed. And this little noise in my brain says, "hashtag: extrovert parent problems."



Sigh. I can't even explain to you just how contented I feel, having figured this all out. It feels so good. There is a reason I walk behind Toff!

So thank you, dear husband, for literally leading me through life so I can just bubble along, happily smiling at people - it's exactly where I like to be.

1 comment:

  1. Aha! As you know I tend to walk six paces ahead of Dad, and like you when I realize it I stop to wait for him to catch up, so we can walk together....and yep before I know it I'm six paces ahead again! I consider myself social, but I think maybe it's beacause my thoughts are focused internally... What I need to get done, a recent conversation, mental list....SQUIRREL! Lol

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