I mentioned to the man taking my order how nice it was to see faces again. Whole faces. Although I'm not discounting the new relationship we've all acquired for reading expression through a mask and learning the new language for eye contact.
So I was in a good mood - we all were - and maybe that's why this happened. Sometimes, however, the people behind the counters at Starbucks, Trader Joes, etc. are a little too friendly to the point of being invasive.
The man who handed me my mocha decides "thank you" and "you're welcome" were not enough contact. He admires my hexagon sunglasses. Too much. They are cute - exactly like my first pair of wire rimmed glasses at fourteen.
"Wow! Great Sunglasses!"
"Those are fantastic."
Silently, I think, "Not really." I smile.
"Ok, let's have the full effect - put them on!"
My stomach twisted but my hands obeyed. I put them on and could no longer make eye contact. I had made myself slightly ill, but I don't blame him. I blame me.
I didn't want to be the poster woman for #metoo and say something like, "That's invasive." Because I knew he wasn't trying to be invasive. Poor white guys, they can't do anything right these days. But I didn't refuse either.
What struck me about this interaction:
1. how automatic his thinking process was - he objectified me instinctively
2. how lacking in basic etiquette his thinking was - and he was young. Young men certainly know about boundaries these days. They are steeped in them. But he had no idea who it is appropriate to be familiar with and who you should just say, 'You're welcome." to.
More importantly, because it's under my purview, the knee-jerk reaction to comply, is disturbing. I did what he asked me to do, even though I didn't want to do it. I made him more important. Which I have done countless times in my life without hesitation. But the sick feeling I had after complying, was familiar. I have to do something different, if I want these situations to change. . . which takes bravery and presence. I know I possess bravery. But presence? Presence is connected to the exact moment my stomach knotted but my hands went up.
. . . more on presence later. . .