The Etiquette Of Staring
As I was walking the long main hallway at work this afternoon I couldn’t help but notice that coming my way from the opposite end was an unfamiliar coworker, and I could swear that he was giving me the evil eye.
He targeted me early, locking eyes on me like we had somehow entered into some sort of formal optical-contact agreement, and he’d be damned if he was going to be the one to break the contract. The closer he got to me the more disconcerting his glare became, and it was as if time was slowing with each step that we took towards each other, allowing me to gleam more and more unpleasant details in his troubling stare.
Ten steps closer and I could swear his grin morphed into something disingenuous and down right psychotic.
Twenty steps closer and my mind raced to make sense of his furrowed brow and disquieting glint in his eyes.
Finally, as we neared within five steps of each other he raised his hand, waved, and said “Good morning!” to me as we passed.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it appeared that a confrontation was not in the cards, so I lowered my hands down from their Elvis “karate chop” defensive positions, smiled, and replied with my own feeble, “Morning!”
This got me thinking about the etiquette of the hallway stare. It’s been my experience that eye contact is best avoided until the final fifteen feet or so, then a quick look into the eyes of your target followed by a brisk “Morning!” or “How was your weekend?” or “I’m still hung over…” as you pass is the most proper way of handling a hallway greeting in a professional environment.
A prolonged, longing glance from the end of the hallway just isn’t the way I roll. It gives me the heebie-jeebies…