I’m in a coffee shop, as I often am, trying to figure out something or another, as I rarely do, when a voice says:
“Hey, check out the sunset you guys!”
Jarred, I look up to see if I’m being played with. I’m not. Because the sun was setting, as it does every single day, this guy SPRINTS out of the coffee shop as if there were a fire (and technically there is one, it’s just in space, yo.) He then pulls out a camera and starts snapping pictures of this sunset.
There’s a girl in the coffee shop, and she and I make eye contact and have a nonverbal conversation which I think goes something like this.
HER: We don’t… have to do that do we?
HER: Okay, good. I’m probably NOT going to sleep with that guy.
ME: Good. You shouldn’t reinforce strange behavior.
HER: I didn’t think so.
ME: Me neither.
ME: I mean, I’m not going to sleep with him either.
HER: Oh. Okay. Well. Back to work.
ME: I gotcha. And by that I mean EYE gotcha!
Nonverbal. It’s like, 70% of communication y’all.
I don’t know why I feel so challenged when people say things like that. If I don’t jump up and run out to check out said sunset I am like, not digging life enough. But if I do run out and check out the sunset, someone will steal my laptop, so then what?
Or, more likely, if I get up and run out to check out the sunset, I’ll have to stop what I’m doing for a few minutes. It’s a sunset, man.
Knowing my position was somewhat spiritually precarious, I half-assed it — I leaned towards the window, looked towards the sunset, counted to five, and nodded appreciatively.
This is the nature-appreciation equivalent of that thing you do when someone trips and falls near you lamely half-extend your arm. It’s not an effort to save them, it’s just an effort to say that “Hey, if it were convenient, I WOULD have. I tried..”
[My Mom does a similar thing if there’s ever a close-call when she’s driving “Hey son, I know that it seems unlikely that my Triceps Brachii could stop the combined g forces of two cars going 55mph at each other, but I want you to know that I’d be willing to give it a shot.” That’s Mom math for you. Her Arm > Seatbelt.]
[It’s noteworthy that friends do NOT do this move for one another. It’s sort of a “F@#k it, fend for yourself man, I didn’t want to drive anyway.” non-move.]
Sunset Guy comes back into the coffee shop and stops by the cute girl and says:
“It’s like the rainbow sherbet of my youth.”
She smiles at him and we lock eyes again.
HER: Well, maybe…
ME: Oh for crying out loud.
HER: He’s so in touch with …
HER: You bet.
[There’s a lot of punny word play in non-verbal communication, which I didn’t expect but am largely okay with.]
Later, after I asked her if he really said that that thing about sherbet, she laughed and said he did. I asked if it was charming when a guy said that sort of thing. She didn’t even blink:
“It’s kinda charming, but it’s mostly alarming.”