Saturday, March 20, 2010

Battle Cry

How is it possible to be a single twenty-something and not think about doing it? With everyone, all the time. Some days I wonder if I haven’t somehow been transformed into a thirteen-year-old-boy because everyone I see turns into a potential mate. Even that possibly Autistic, but quirkily attractive cashier at CVS. Did we lock eyes for longer than the average three quarters of a second? And, more importantly, does that mean something? What it means is that I have come to accept disconnected apathy as the norm for human interaction, and any deviation from that is highly noticeable and inevitably intriguing. I make human connection multiple times a day: at the grocery store, the bank, the parking garage. We are all used to this routine. “Hi, how are you today?” “I’m good, thanks, you?” “I’m fine.” The end. A three sentence exchange that anyone could predict nearly verbatim and not once was a head lifted, a brow raised.

Everyday we ignore each other. And so it doesn’t take much to excite me or to make me feel important or even desired. The kindness of the man at the UPS store who is willing to make my copies even though the store is (at the rude insistence of his unhappy co-worker) technically closed, does not go unnoticed on my part. No, quite the opposite, in fact. It actually excites the hormone inside me that says, “maybe he’s doing it because he likes you, because he thinks you’re cute. Because you’ll walk away from the storefront into the sunset together after he’s locked up for the night…” I’m sorry, where was I?
That is exactly the problem. Any amount of human attention paid to me is magnified in my mind and translates to attraction. And when someone is attracted to me, in my desperate state of being, how can I not be totally flattered and at least a little attracted back? The problem with this logic is that attention does not equal attraction. Most of the time attention simply equals attention, but we are so used to being glossed over in our daily interactions (and probably doing our fair share of glossing too) that the attention paid to us, which should be considered average courteous behavior, seems like over-the-top interest. And in my case, romantic interest.

So here is my call to arms. Let us make sincere interest the norm. Let us truly engage those around us, to whom we are required to speak on a daily, if not mundane basis. Let every interaction better us, or move our day forward in a positive way (or even negative, as long as we are being engaged and honest). Help me bring the standard of interaction up a notch or two so that every time Steve—who always rings in my toiletry purchase with a little extra pep—looks me in the eye for longer than a full second, I don’t assume it’s because he is looking for the faces of our future children. I just can’t keep getting let down like this.

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