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Monday, April 18, 2011

There's An Old Guy Staring At Me And I Don't Know What To Do

Old Guy Staring At Me (Not actual guy)
Dunkin Donuts has become my unofficial "office" where I do 90% of my blogging. Daily, I pop in, grab my large coffee, open up my white iBook and start thinking about what I want to write about first. There are the usual regulars who show up and chat. One customer, however, is different than all the rest. And right now, there's an old guy staring at me and I don't know what to do.

I'm used to being in public places where you make inadvertent eye contact with strangers. It happens once or twice with the same person and then it's over.

Sometimes the eye contact leads to a conversation or at least a tip of the head as a sublime acknowledgment of the other person's presence.

This old guy, however, just stares. His face is blank.

First, he started out at a table about 15 feet from me. Every time I looked up, he was staring at me. Then, he moved across the room to a big leather couch here at Dunkin Donuts. He's still staring.

I wonder what is going through his mind. His expressionless face gives no clues as to his mood. Are Looney Tunes cartoons playing in his head? Is he thinking about the next time he needs to go to the bathroom or take his medication? Is he plotting something sinister that involves a cream filled donut?

Usually, when you make eye contact with an old person, they feel like you want to talk. They'll start talking after that initial link up and even come over to your table and start rambling on about their health issues and their "good for nothing" kids. Or they whip out the pictures of their grand kids and give you a minute-by-minute account of the child's life. "Please shoot me."

I just glanced over at my eyeball stalker. He was staring at me. But this time, he seemed to notice he was caught in the act and his eyes quickly moved to the floor.

Maybe he thinks I'm his long lost twin. We're both wearing jeans, tennis shoes and worn sweatshirts. Neither of us has shaved today. Maybe he's jealous of my full head of hair and is imagining something out of a Twilight Zone plot to get my hair from me. "I think I better adjust my medication, " is on my mind.

He might just be in awe of my laptop. I've found that with a lot of the older people here. They're so far out of touch with technology that everything beyond the first color TV is like science fiction to them. "Wow, you can use that to get answers to the Sip, Scratch, Score questions on the coffee cups?"

"Yeah, it's called Google."

"Man, I knew you were some kind of a computer genius."

That kind of accolade won't get me a job, though.

"Mr. Blazic, what are your qualifications?"

"I can use Google."

"No kidding. We've been looking for someone that could figure that out."

"I know how to use Twitter, too."

"Really? Our IT department has spent months staring at that box on Twitter and no one knows what is appropriate to put in it."

I think I need to head back to Dunkin Donuts.

The guy staring at me just went to the bathroom. I wonder if he's in their peeing with his eyes riveted on the door, directly at me? Am I getting paranoid?

He's back on the couch and his stare continues. Maybe I need to wear a surgical mask like they do in Japan. I have some old Mardi Gras masks that might work.

STOP... why do I have to wear a mask at all? He's the guy with the staring problem.

Maybe I should stare back at him. I can cross my eyes for long periods of time and still drive afterwards. That is a very aggressive strategy on my part.

Have I had too much coffee today?

I need to get back to my computer and block out this guy. "Stare at the hand your creepy bastard." There... I feel much better.

When people act in what we would consider normal fashions, we move through life without worry. But there's and old guy staring at me and I don't know what to do.

Related articles:

How To Beat Dunkin Donuts At Sip, Scratch, Score Game   

How To Find Answers For Dunkin Donuts Sip, Scratch, Score Trivia Game

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