The other weekend I was at my favorite craft store. I went to pick up just a few items (meaning I had no cart and no basket). So there I was standing in the checkout line just sort of letting my gaze wander and catch on random things. In my head I was thinking about unrelated things like my grocery list, did I remember to grab my earbuds for the gym, and other things totally unrelated to what I was looking at.
Now behind me in line there were a few individuals and a woman with two kids. Now the kids were not being rude or disruptive but they were still bouncing around and moving. The smallest one had almost bumped into me a few times so I guess my gaze got caught by them when there was movement nearby. The line was moving really slowly as there was only one cashier and the woman at the front of the line had questions. Which meant there was a lot of time for my gaze to wander.
At one point I was staring at the pillows on the isle display that was to my right and beyond the line of people. So in essence I was staring over the people and was sort of facing them but I wasn’t watching them. I am not sure how long I was looking that direction when the woman with the kids snipped at me “can I help you?” I was pretty confused for a second before I realized I had my sunglasses on so it must have looked like I was staring at her.
I quickly apologized and said I had just mentally wandered off and wasn’t looking at anything specifically really. After all, it looked like I had been rude. I made sure to keep my gaze forward for the rest of my trip in line but I could hear her on the phone behind me talking about people being rude and judging. When we left the store at similar times she was parked near me and made a point to stare at me and roll her eyes before getting into her car.
This got me thinking, was it ruder of me to accidently stare or for her to call attention to it and not let it go? After all it was a public place with no expectation of privacy. I have been stared at longer and in more random places and just ignored it. But I can honestly say I have never called the out on it. I always figured it was just better to ignore it and keep on with my day.
But that also got me thinking, would I react differently if I had children in my care? Or would I be even more inclined to not talk to them? After all people have been followed home after flipping another driver the bird and it wouldn’t be worth the risk.
I guess the point of all this rambling is that while I felt bad for staring (or appearing to), I felt even more annoyed by her reacting as she did. So was I more wrong for not paying attention or was she for deliberately reacting? Or is there no such thing as more wrong but rather just two schools of thought?
Love and misunderstandings,