I almost made it out of the bowling alley without getting stared at.
Last night Sam and I went bowling and it was great. Total “Guy’s Night Out” material. Sam was disappointed in his scores, as was I with mine, but we still had a lot of fun. Plus, we made these videos:
You couldn’t write it any better. Then I was like, “Stand over here and try it so you can see the pins.” And then this happened:
Since it was a Friday night, the alley was full and there were a number of parties happening. As Sam and I walked out, we passed by a little girl’s party; she must have been turning 7 or 8. So, there they all were, a little group of little girls, giggling and smiling and…being little girls. Then, one of them spotted me. Her face turned serious and she grabbed the girls closest to her. Then they turned serious and grabbed the girls closest to them. There they all stood, holding onto each other and looking at me, clearly having no idea what to think or do. Only one of them pointed, which was nice. I smiled and waved and out the door we went.
I loved that Sam had no idea. He was just hanging out with dad and we were on our way to get something to eat. The event didn’t bother me, though it was maybe the most dramatic staring event that I’ve experienced in quite some time. What I was thinking, too, is that their reaction was natural. I know a lot of parents right now are saying, “That was so RUDE! You should have gone up to their parents and taught them a lesson in acceptance and how to be polite!” And I hear you. I do.
My perspective, though, is that people will always stare. Is it rude? Sure. But, it’s natural to be thrown-off when you see something different; something you’re not used to. So, I choose not to get angry about it. If the opportunity presents itself for me to teach someone about acceptance and the like, fantastic, but I’m not going to walk around with a chip on my shoulder thinking, “I can’t believe how rude everyone is! I’m going to teach them all a lesson!” I’d go crazy.
I’m comfortable with the way I look. In fact, I’m more self-conscious about my weight than I am about my arm. So, people can stare and I understand. It’s their deal, not mine. It’s not ideal, but it’s life. And if the opportunity presents itself for me to meet them and show them that I’m just a normal dude…great.
And if not, they can just be awed by my one-handed bowling skills.
I’d love your thoughts about how you’ve dealt with staring or what you’ve taught your kids about it!