About Face

Years ago, I was in a really weird mood when I went to a steakhouse with my then-wife and her family.  Since everyone else in our group was talking to one another (and I'm more than a bit attention deficient), I noticed this little girl at the next table over.  She was maybe 5 or 6 and was with her family.  The parents had another couple of friends with them, so they were focused on talking to them.  The whole group was getting ready to leave just as I noticed them.  The little girl was pretty much being ignored because the couples were in the middle of an animated conversation.

The little girl looked over and noticed I was looking her way.  People usually give kids a friendly smile, but (you know me) I'm a prankster, and kids annoy me.  I couldn't resist departing from protocol.  I gave her a look like I was completely disgusted with her and yet couldn't look away, like she was the proverbial train wreck.  It was sort of more subtle than that, something that wouldn't be so obvious that it would attract attention from across the restaurant.  The rest of my table was busy with their own conversations, and I was turned more than ninety degrees from them anyway, so they wouldn't notice either.

The girl looked back at me completely shocked.  She was like, "Why would he look at me like that?"  She turned away from me momentarily and looked around and behind her like maybe I was looking at someone else.  But she kept looking back to me to make certain I was staring at her, which I was even more intently now that I was getting a reaction from her.

It got to the point where I couldn't keep up the staring contest.  I was ready to bust up laughing.  I turned away back to my table before my mask of supposed disgust broke.  Fortunately, the couple was still laughing and talking and hardly making any progress at getting out of out of the restaurant.  I regained my composure and turned back to the girl.  She was still there.  She was looking right at me, still incredulous that I gave her the look last time.  I gave it to her again.

This time, she changed from being shocked that I would give her a look to wondering why she deserved this look.  She stopped looking for who I was looking at and started looking herself over scanning for something, anything that could provoke this response from me.  Finding nothing, she went from "Why are you looking at me like that?" to "How dare you look at me like that!?"

I could hardly contain myself at that point and had to turn away again, but her parents were starting to leave for real finally anyway.  I kept giving her the look, but her parents were shuffling her along, not paying any mind to her as she glowered at me all the way out the door.

If you're reading this, you're probably the first people to hear this story besides her therapist.

Copyright 2007 Alexplorer.
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