Interpersonal interaction is unavoidable while on campus. If I asked you to count how many people you interacted with daily, you might begin by counting the friends you ate with, your classmates you sat with during lecture, or a family member or friend you spoke with on the phone. You might include someone who held the door for you, someone who rang you up at a store, or someone who accidentally bumped into you. What about the anonymous, microscopic interactions you have forgotten or the other person never noticed? What about the small things we do that we think no one will remark? These probably make up the greatest content of our everyday lives. Here are a few of my missed connections:
~We were in the dining hall. You were licking the cream cheese off the side of your bagel. We made eye contact and both quickly looked away.
~It was the middle of the day, and we passed each other in front of Witherspoon. You were talking quite loudly to yourself, which was a bit unsettling. You didn’t seem to notice the people around you looking at you.
~You walked past me at late meal, and I noticed you because you got a really tasty-looking sandwich I had never seen anyone order before. I think I fell in love with you because of it. Later that week, you were in front of me, paying at the register. I recognized you by your sandwich, but the spark was gone. I realized it was the sandwich I loved, not you.
~We were walking towards each other in the Whitman servery and made eye contact while I tried to eat a black bean off my plate. It fell out of my mouth. You definitely saw it.
~You were running on the treadmill next to me in Dillon. At mile three, you farted. I pretended not to notice.
~We passed each other walking by Blair arch. It was dark. I accidentally grazed your pinky with my pinky. We kept walking, and I told myself you didn’t notice, but how could you not have?
~You were picking your nose in McGraw. You looked around and didn’t think anyone saw you, but I saw you.
~You cut a banana in half and left one half at the fruit stand in the Rocky-Mathey servery. I saw what you were trying to do, but did you really think anyone would take the other half?
~You stole my sweatshirt from the Cottage coatroom. It was 50 degrees out, and I walked home really cold. I hope you’re pleased with yourself.
~We left precept at the same time, but we don’t know each other. We staggered ourselves a few paces apart, but it eventually became apparent we were walking to the same destination. We were fully aware of each other’s presence the whole time, but we looked at our phones and didn’t acknowledge each other.
Could it have been you?