Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Staring doesn't bode well for the socially inept.

Do you know what's really unnerving? People staring at you on trains.

Especially on tubes when they're sitting opposite you and you literally have nowhere else to look. In these cases you tend to then develop an unhealthy fascination with the tube map stuck on the wall of the train, even though you take this journey every day and so know the route off by heart.

Now don't get me wrong, I have on more than one occasion been caught staring at someone on a train. But usually on those occasions I wouldn't be aware I was staring until they look back at me. It's at this point I will quickly look away and spend the rest of my journey looking anywhere but where that person had been sitting.

I do this partly because I'm a socially inept British person and partly because I have been told from a young age that IT IS RUDE TO STARE.

Well I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that the man who chose to sit opposite me on the train today had never been let in on this little life lesson.

This morning this man got on the train on the stop after me, sat opposite me and proceeded to stare.

I was obeying the unsaid rules of conduct when on a train, which is to look at either all the ads above the people's heads, through the window, at the floor, or at your own ipod (even if you're already happy with the song selection and are completely tired of all the games on it).

Thems the rules and I had chosen the window as my choice of stare. However, suddenly I was aware of these eyes staring unflinchingly at me.

Immediately, due to my complete social awkwardness when anyone of the opposite sex shows me any kind of attention, I froze up and kept my eyes honed on the window, determined not to give him any reason to continue his stare.

This didn't seem to work at all and he continued to stare.

Then I had a brainwave. I thought that if I looked at him maybe he would look away from either embarrassment or fear of being caught.

Convinced that he had made a similar mistake to the ones I had occasionally made and just simply had not realised that he had been staring, I turned my gaze to him.

This lasted for a total of two seconds but I realised two things in those two seconds.

1. He was not going to look away any time soon
2. He was clearly enjoying how awkward this made me

My eyes darted to the memorised tube map at this point and my awkward levels grew. For 10 minutes I kept my eyes averted but for 10 minutes I could feel his stare on me.

After the 9th minute or so I had convinced myself that I was making the whole thing up and that, as I wasn't looking directly at him I couldn't possibly know for sure if he had been staring at me the whole time. He could have been staring at the window behind me.

So after I had finished fully examining the shoes of the woman to my left (an action she was starting to eye me suspiciously for) I chanced another look at my 'possibly-not-at-all' starer again.

Alas my new conclusion was not the case. There he was - just staring.

This was the point I got out my notebook and started to draft this blog. An action I had discovered was actually the perfect anecdote but I had realised a little too late as two minutes later he got up to leave.

He promptly came and stood in front of the door next to me, leaving him in full view of what I was writing. Afraid he may realise my couple of paragraphs were all about him, I turned the page and pretended to scan it's contents. Unfortunately this page was blank so I fear it may have been a little obvious as to why I had really turned the page.

And so people that is why, when the man left the train after 20 minutes of non stop invasion of my social comfortableness, I then managed to feel guilty that I had done him some wrong.

I couldn't tell if he was being pervy or flirty (yes that's right, I can't tell the difference between the two) but I'm leaning towards... pervy? That's right isn't it? To be honest, both of them make me equally as awkward so it doesn't really make any difference to me.

Oh and by the way, the guy in the photo is not the man from the train. I didn't think it would be wise for anyone involved if I had run after him and asked to take his picture for a blog I was doing on the UNBELIEVABLY awkward moment we had just shared. Instead I roped Work-Buddy-James into posing for visual effect.

Oh and in other news, I think the internet is mad with me for something. I asked it to do something for me last night and it came back with this.

That's all.
Peace out.

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