Thursday, March 7, 2019

Eye Contact

A couple of years ago, when my nephew Hans
was recovering from surgery, he wondered aloud,
"What the heck is wrong with people
who refuse to make eye contact?"

I am proud to see that none other than Maya Angelou (above)
agrees with my response to him (below):
Dear Hans --

Keep on striving for that eye contact and don't worry about those who don't acknowledge. A few will and it will make your day -- and theirs. Years ago, when email was first a thing, your dad [my oldest brother, Dave] and I had a correspondence going about this same topic.

He was up in Pittsburgh, KS, at the time, and I was in Philly. Our plan was that he would walk around campus all day civilly nodding to all who crossed his path, and I would do the same in my neighborhood -- which was typical behavior for us anyway, but this time we would keep track of how many would respond with eye contact. The disappointing result was -- very few! Sometimes not a single person in an entire day!

What's wrong with them? Somehow it just seems to pain many people to acknowledge that they are surrounded by fellow travelers on the planet. Something has made them afraid and tight in their hearts. But don't ever stop trying to share that smile! I'm still at it, and soon your energy will return and you'll be back at it too!

XOXO, Aunt Kit
Post Script from Dave:

"And it didn't stop me from continuing to nod in open acceptance
and truly enjoy the occasional return. Hang in there Son."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to poet Tammy Sandel for these words of joy and wisdom about making contact -- and eye contact --with those we encounter along the path of any given day:


    is a form of Activism.

    And Manners matter in the modern world,
    Clearing the path between people,

    Letting us use
    And hear
    Our Voices.

    Even stilted Thank-You’s
    Lift us up above the weeds.

    And spoken from your center,
    a whisper projects like a shout.

    Do hold up your placard!
    Or (just) hold somebody’s hand.

    (just) because that’s no small thing.

    Consider your cause
    Your personal energy
    Your style
    Your soul

    We can choose our outfit to match
    Tights, helmet, falcon or fairy wings
    And Acts of Kindness
    Are Civil Rights in a quiet cape.

    At our intersection


    Wave back to me from the car
    Two fingers from the steering wheel,
    Up nod at the pumps,
    Motorbike salute me low,
    Sports-guy-chest-bump high,
    Pet my dog
    Pat my butt
    What?! It’s my Woman’s Right to invite.

    I know
    The rules can overwhelm,
    A Fibonacci spiral
    A pas de deux
    A jazz riff improvised
    Outside the key;
    Our demands are
    As elegant and complex as a person,
    As simple as a poem.

    In truth
    We all
    (just) want to be Seen, Respected,

    So, Lez go.
    Let’s just do it
    When we can.

    Smile to Me
    As I hold the door
    For You.

    We can see behind the Masks,

    Beyond Skin,

    The color of Life shining through.


    tlks Summer 2021