Dec
14
2011

The Hidden Dangers of Eye Contact

A former boyfriend once suggested that I received unwanted attention on SF public transportation because I made eye contact with the crazies. What I learned recently was that, apparently, eye contact represents the universal sign for “please, touch me inappropriately and with purpose” to ALL forms of life, not just mentally unstable bus riders.

It all started when I was sitting at my gate at Dulles playing “spot the Air Marshall.” As my peepers jumped from person to person, I accidentally locked eyes with a 4-year-old girl sitting across from me. In true Fatal Attraction fashion, it meant nothing to me but I guess she felt differently.

When we boarded, I discovered that this girl and her parents were seated across the aisle and one row up from me. As we readied for takeoff, the girl climbed out of her seat, tottered over to me and handed me her stuffed dog. I smiled and said “Thank you, but I think he’ll be happier staying with you.” The girl couldn’t take a hint. She continued to stare up at me with her big, wet, Steve Buscemi eyes and thrust the dog at me until I finally took it. As she turned around, I tapped the father on the shoulder, handed the dog back and continued reading about the safety features of our Airbus A320. Five minutes later, the same thing happened, only this time, the father turned around, took a picture and said “This is amazing, she’s never shared anything with anybody before!” So glad I could play such a crucial role in this kid’s development. When I tried to hand the dog back, the father asked “Would you mind just holding on to it for awhile? We’re so happy that she’s learned to share that we don’t want to stifle her now by having you give the dog back.” Um…Yeah, ok, sure. I guess I don’t want to…stifle…her either. And so I took off for California like all normal 28-year-old women — holding a stuffed dog against one knee.

  • At hour 1.5, I fell asleep. At hour 1.75, I woke up to find her standing in the aisle, face inches from mine, staring at me…expressionless…like an extra from Children of the Corn.
  • At hour 2.5, I exited the bathroom and tripped over her…standing in the aisle outside of the stall…waiting for me. She then followed me back to my seat and stood in the aisle staring at me…still expressionless.
  • At hour 3, she walked over to my seat, reached her stubby arms into my row and fiddled with my magazines in the seat-back pocket in front of me until I put them in my bag. At this point, I wondered why her parents weren’t paying attention to her but was too distracted by “Elf” to say anything.

And then, at hour 4,we hit turbulence. Like a normal person, I fastened my seatbelt, started sweating and prayed silently that we stayed afloat. Not like a normal person, this kid climbed out of her seat, OVER her father’s seat, walked back to my seat and started to climb in my lap. That was enough for me. I gently pushed her away, tapped her father on the shoulder and said: “Hi, I don’t mean to be rude, but would you please keep a closer eye on your daughter? She’s adorable, but she’s been a little bothersome and I really don’t want her to get hurt climbing on me during turbulence.”

And that is apparently how to become the most hated person on a JetBlue flight from Dulles to Long Beach. The little girl finally decided to get an expression and started bawling. The mother held her and said “What did you do to her?” The father glared at me and rudely exclaimed “Jeez, lighten up, she’s just a kid.” The woman directly across the aisle from me whispered to her husband “well, she could have just held the kid for a few minutes.” Really? Really?!

When did it become acceptable behavior to let your kid creepily stare at and crawl all over fellow passengers? Shouldn’t that go the way of smoking or carrying on liquids over 3 oz? To parents who think their kids can do no wrong and who don’t bother to keep an eye on them, I say: Meccanized.

Written by lindsay in: Uncategorized |
  • Erin

    Wow. You're the bad guy here? Incredible.

    • Ray

      Remind me to keep my kids away from you. Heartless, truly heartless. 🙂

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