Have you seen the movie Juno? I paraphrase:
“She was giving me the stink eye.”
“I doubt that she was giving you the stink eye. That's just the way her face looks.”
Great movie…but not what this blog is about.
When I was about 13, I was in the skating rink on a random Friday night. Because that’s what you did on Friday nights when you were 13 and lived where I did. I was there almost every weekend. So on this particular, random Friday night…I’m looking around, people watching…like you do…and this little skinny girl comes stomping up to me with, what I now see was, a face full of false bravado. She stares me down and says:
“What is your problem?”
My incredibly intelligent and well thought out reply was something in the vein of:
“Why are you giving me dirty looks?” she demanded to know. Her false bravado was contagious and it brought mine out. So I bowed up at her. (You hear my redneck coming out? “Bowed up”?)
“I wasn’t even looking at you!” I said angrily.
“I just saw you! You’ve been giving me dirty looks for five minutes!”
“I don’t even know you!”
“Then why are you looking at me?”
“I wasn’t! I don’t even know what your problem is!”
“Well maybe you should watch where you’re looking!”
“Well maybe you shouldn’t be so paranoid and think everybody is looking at you when nobody cares!”
At 13…this was a really heated argument. I think I even threw out the “s” word at some point. Let me tell you…I had false bravado for days. I had a redneck older brother and I could talk poo with the best of them by the tender, young age of 13. That’s probably why I’ve barely ever been in a fight. I got loud and didn’t back down and whoever I was shouting at usually figured out it wasn’t worth it. This particular altercation lasted a couple of minutes and we both ran out of things to say. So we kind of stood there…looking at each other. When she figured out I was not going to back down…we had that moment of:
This led to the standard “Do you go to school here?”. Because before it went any further, we had to know if our schools were rivals. That led to introducing ourselves to each other…and next thing you know…we are hanging out with each other. We are giggling together like nothing ever happened.
We started meeting at the skating rink almost every weekend…then we even hung out away from the skating rink. Then she met my family and started calling my mom “Mom”…as most of my friends did. She developed a crush on my brother…also like most of my friends did. She became one of my best friends for the next couple of years. We drifted apart after a couple of years. I got pregnant and had a baby and she was still really involved in school. We still talked here and there…but around that point, I started hanging around with a friend who lived closer and had more in common with me. But that girl was still my friend and we still talked occasionally and even wrote each other letters since I didn’t have a phone. She signed them all “L.Y.L.A.S.”. You guys remember that one, right? “Love You Like A Sister”.
Fast forward to today. Yeah…it’s a long fast forward. 28 years worth. I still talk to that girl. We grew apart and are not best friends or anything…but we still occasionally talk and have very fond feelings for each other. I haven’t seen her in years and our lives turned out very, very different. But I still count her as one of my oldest friends and I think about her now and then and we send each other smiles and quick thoughts via Facebook. And it all started because she thought I was giving her a dirty look…and I honestly had never even seen her face until she walked up to me.
She was not the first person to randomly walk up to me and confuse the hell out of me by asking me why I was giving her a dirty look. She was not the last either.
I wasn’t giving any of them the “Stink Eye”. Apparently my face just looks like that.