Thursday, August 11, 2005

I made eye contact with a dog the other day.

It's always an interesting study in humanity to make eye contact with people in the city. It tells you who's interested or willing or not scared to acknowledge a complete stranger as a person. It doesn't tell you much about a person, but it tells you something.

Peoples' first instinct when making eye contact is what interests me. Dudes frequently just make eye contact as a parry to see if they will be judged desirable. Methinks this is why so many ladies know better than to make eye contact with such dudes. It's a vibe thing, of course, and the eye-contact-hunting dudes put off the "I-wanna-get-wit-you-but-probably-can't-so-I'm-checking-the-eye-contact" vibe. Which, I guess, is all guys.

Present company excepted.

Alright, really, it's all guys. But beyond the Men-Seeking-Heartrate crowd, I'm most interested in how people react to generic eye contact. I think the most common is the 'pretend it didn't happen' crowd, who look away immediately. There's usually a followup glance to ascertain whether or not the other person is still looking, and then it turns into eye contact tag, whereby both parties are saying, "I wasn't looking. I wasn't looking. I wasn't."

My favorite is when people just smile and keep going. Don't have to pursue it, don't have to get their phone number or something. Just, like a ray of sunshine on a passing face.

The most intriguing eye contact moments are the ones in which I find dogs to be more open to a connection than human beings. Beneath the bustle of some social fuss, dogs will look out and make a more honest connection than all the human pretense above them.

If I'm not clear about what I mean, I mean me, looking at a dog, who stares back at me.

This happened just the other day when I was on an escalator heading up. I looked down and saw some smiling dog waiting on his owner. The dog looked up at me, riding the moving staircase, and we stared at each other until he disappeared beneath the next level.

It's also intriguing to find youth who connect naturally at a young age. I've seen kids at three years old who are more aware of their surroundings than some 12 or 14-year-olds. Or 30-year-olds. It's like a little meter of consciousness.

I'm not drawing any conclusions here, just imagining that even anonymous eyes connect on a level that reflects the universe. It may not even be the eyes themselves, but the moment which divulges that everything's connected.

"For what man sees is what man is and opened eyes can help crippled minds / To stand." (Bayonettes and Battlefields, April 2000)

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