Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Ukrainian Stare-down

I have to be to my office by about 9:00 a.m. on days where I do not have to travel out of county. Therefore, my schedule is rather regular on those days when I walk the two blocks to my bus stop and take the bus to the train. I see quite a few of the same people.

Sometimes I see my neighbor, only my hipsteribility isn't so great so he doesn't usually see me. (You see, yuppies tend not to register on the hipster-o-meter. Doesn't bother me. When I see him in the building, he's warm and friendly, as if my yuppie shield doesn't impede interaction. We're cool.) Usually, I see the shortish brunette, probably a professional based on her attire, walking south on my street (the opposite direction of me). I remember her because she complimented my scarf one day. For awhile, I would see a cute Hispanic family, a mother and two little ones, always holding hands, that would return my smiles every day.

Lately, I've been encountering an older Eastern European woman with a cute little boy. He's darling, probably five years old, with very blond hair. Because I find children rather darling, I first began to smile and give the usual "good morning nod" to her, acknowledging the cuteness of the child-in-tow. That first day, she stared at me. No smile. No head nod. No words of acknowledgement. It was eerie. I figured that perhaps she thought I was the creepy one (as if!), never having seen me before, so I shook it off.

The very next morning, same routine. Head nod to the brunette professional who likes my scarf, then a smile to the Ukrainian with the cute little boy. Another stare-down. She would meet my gaze and stare at me rather expressionless. There was no smile to her eyes, just blankness. Once again, I was completely creeped out, and this time, irritated.

My inner monologue went something like this:
Oh. Really? You just saw me yesterday. I attempted a friendly gesture at you then. You're gonna snub me two days in a row. Hell no. See if I even LOOK at you tomorrow. You just wait and see.

Sure enough, it's day three, and I encounter them again. I kept my eyes to my right, completely ignoring their existence aside from noting the fact that the little boy had his own little umbrella he was manning and it was so utterly adorable. Must. Keep. Eyes. To the right. And I did. But then I felt slightly guilty, because it's not really in my nature to snub someone. Well, unless you are Attorney 409. Then consider yourself snubbed.

Of course, the next day, the little guy has his umbrella again. So I decide, alright, I'll be the bigger person. I will smile again. Besides, I couldn't help but smile as I saw him expertly folding it down. So I smile at the older lady and she staaaaares me down. Again. I decided I would call her brand of greeting the Ukrainian Stare-down.

Annoyed. Tomorrow I'm going to add an overly chipper good morning. Stay tuned.

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