Monday, August 23, 2010

A Work In Progress

On my 20 minute walk up to the office from the BART station here in SF, I stopped into one of the Starbucks on the way up. It’s not the one I normally go to, but it’s a warmer morning than usual here, and I was jonesing for my iced coffee a bit early. Besides noticing that the staff at this particular location was not on top of it as my usual stop, I turned around to find a pair of eyes glaring me down. Usually when this happens, I’m very well aware of what I did to cause such a reaction. In checking myself this time, I realized there was no possible way I could have pissed off this blond uptight suited chick. When I walked into the store, I was the only customer there. It wasn’t until I was waiting for my coffee to be prepared that I turned and suddenly there was a line at the register. And there was this chick in the middle of the line glaring at me. For no apparent reason. Her glare followed me as I crossed behind her to get cream for my coffee and stayed with me until I walked out of the place. WTF? The only thing that came to mind is I had to have looked like someone else she had a beef with and thought it was me.

A week or so ago I was having lunch with a close friend at a restaurant. The day was gorgeous and we were seated outside by the water near the outdoor bar. Towards the end of the meal, my friend mentioned the bartender checking me out. Uhhh, wha??? Really? I was perfectly happy with the company I was with and had not noticed at all the attention of anyone else. Even after having it pointed out to me, I still hadn’t noticed anything different subsequent to that, but my friend sure did…and he was not a fan of my “fan.” While I enjoyed the bit of jealousy that this attention spawned, the encounter this morning raised an interesting question linking the two situations.

Why is it that we tend to notice the negative attention more often and much more quickly than the positive attention of everyday life? Now I could have totally stayed in my own little bubble like I normally do in the morning as I walk to work , but this woman’s glare broke through. When I was being checked out by the bartender (or so I was told…I’m not convinced of it), I was completely oblivious. Those looks weren’t even close to being a threat to our bubble…at least not my bubble.

I thought I had stopped looking for the negative reinforcement of my own insecurities. It’s obvious. I’m still a work in progress. And I’m okay with that.


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