July 4, 2020

Eye Spy

A long time ago, someone mentioned one of their favourite hobbies involved people watching. Having had absolutely no idea what it meant, and without context, it sounded wrong and made me feel ill. Upon this person clarifying what it did in fact mean, I only felt worse.

To others however, apparently it’s a rather common past-time, especially around busy places like malls. Individuals or groups will head to certain areas with the intent to simply watch others as they go about their daily tasks or hobbies.

Why?…

I have to ask this again… Why?

It’s hard enough going to public places knowing I’m most likely to lock eyes with a stranger, and all the disturbing nuances entailed. Yet to imagine others not only around you, but watching as well. WHY!?

To help understand my discern, I really, really dislike making eye contact. I don’t understand why it’s everyone’s initiative to stare one another in such a way. When I visit busy places I tend to focus my gaze either slightly downwards, or towards the roof. Not enough as to make me run into anyone, but enough that I’ll avoid seeing any major facial features.

Even still, I can guarantee at some point eye contact will happen, and usually in a very awkward way.

Sometimes you get this feeling like you are being watched, and turn your gaze in a random direction only to be met with someone staring back at you. What’s odd is immediately after you notice them staring, they often turn their eyes away, as if pretending it never happened. Although, I guess that’s better than the ones who still continue to stare, burning a whole through your retina’s like Superman shooting eye beams through rock.

I know this post probably seems a little all over the place, but that’s how it feels when making eye contact. Uncomfortable, haphazard, distorting. Not to mention somewhat violating.

There’s too much truth in someone’s eyes. The pain, joy, skepticism, bitterness or pleasure. It’s like creepily watching a person in their home doing their most private things. Why do I want to learn this much info from you? We are strangers, or even more unsettling, friends and family whom you’d rather not interact with on such an intimate level.

Worse, is the heavy placement on eye contact within society, as if failure to do so makes you weird or wrong in some way. Growing up I’d get in trouble for not looking people in the eye, especially by teachers or other figures of authority. But what about my comfort level? If looking someone in the eyes makes me feel sick or violated, why must I keep conforming to the needs of others?

Why must I feel eyes upon me while walking through a mall, when all I wish to do is pick up a few items?

Why, can’t people find more productive, stimulating hobbies then watching others live their life? Play a game, read a book, volunteer at your local shelters or hospitals. Heck, become inventive and start creating really neat items to share or sell to others. Anything has to be better than sitting in a crowded area and watching others.

Are they just social-studies enthusiasts? If so take a class ^_^

I simply don’t get it.

But I would like to make something clear, even though I don’t understand it and it makes me feel uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean they have no right to, or that it’s in any way wrong.

That being said, I wish their was the same amount of acceptance and leniency given regarding not making eye contact, as their is towards watching people or staring into their eyes. Because in my experience, it’s all too easy getting prosecuted for the former.

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