I just decided that I have resting “You should probably talk to me” face. Or resting “Ignore these headphones. I can’t wait to hear your opinions about the gym” face. Or resting “What does it matter what I’m doing? Tell me your hopes and dreams” face.
You may be familiar with its more popular cousin, and because my parents read this blog, I will call it resting “not very nice lady” face. It is the phenomenon when your face unintentionally conveys hostile messages when you don’t mean for it to. Also known as resting “witch with a B” face. My face however conveys messages inviting more outgoing strangers to strike up a conversation with me when all I want in the world is to drink my iced coffee and read my book.
I’m not an anti-social person. I’m an introvert. And before you worry that I am adding to the eternally growing list of internet reading material championing introverts, all I will say is sometimes we just want to sit in a coffee shop and read.
And the reason for this blog-rant is this is not an isolated incident. This has been happening for years. The time I was sitting in Union Square on a bench reading a book for school, and a man sits down beside me and, no lie, tries to sell me life insurance. The time I was in a coffee shop with my headphones on, surrounded by library books, obviously absorbed in writing a paper, and a person starts talking to me about his favorite things to do at the gym. This morning when I am reaching the climax of my book, audibly shocked as the protagonist faces the truth the whole book has been building towards (no spoilers here!), and a stranger starts talking to me about the nutritional differences between a bag of potato chips and a cup of pasta salad.
I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t talk to your fellow man. You definitely should. I recognize in many of these situations these people needed someone to talk to. Sometimes I just have to ask myself, “why does it have to be me?” I shouldn’t have to lock myself if my apartment if I want to read uninterrupted for a few hours. And if you start talking to me read your audience. Do I have my headphones on? I don’t want to talk. Am I responded to you politely, but in one word answers? I, again, don’t want to talk. I’m not promoting isolation, but I am promoting awareness. Read the room, folks. Read the room.