Monday, 24 February 2014

The no-eye-contact-zone



The no-eye-contact-zone
24 February 2014

I’ve been employing a highly effective avoidance strategy for many years now.  And to be perfectly honest, the success ratio is rather high.  Unparalleled in fact.  Worthy of mention.  I might even share my tips.

I enjoy going out.  Being sociable.  With my friends, and with my family. 

And though Grant generally enjoys going out too, he is far more of a home body.  Loving nothing more, than being at home.  Relaxing.  Being the king of his castle.

Now I enjoy being home too.  Lots in fact.  But, I do enjoy people.  Immensely.  And thus social gatherings, in any shape and form are my best.  Hey, even a school meeting is a social gathering.  Just saying.

I love watching people when we’re out.  Chatting to many.  Laughing.  Taking in my surroundings. And simply soaking up every little magic moment.

And my Grantie mostly gets this.  Indulging me, and if not understanding my need, at least attempting to give me my time.

Mostly, I don’t really like to leave.  Especially not early.  Attempting to squeeze every last little drop of goodness out of an outing.  Making it last.  And last.  And last.

Maybe this comes from a deep seated desire, to not miss out on anything.  My mom says I’ve been this way from birth.  Always alert and with an eye on activity around me.  And partaking in that activity.  This very same personality trait leads to me not being overly fond of sleeping.  Such a waste of time!

But inevitably, no matter where we are, or what we are doing, there comes a time, in every outing, where my Grantie, most desperately wants to leave.  Where he longs, for the comfort and familiarity of his castle.  His kingdom.

But as for me?  No ways!  We can’t leave yet!  What if something fun happens?  And we miss out on it?  Perish the thought!!!

And thus, I’m always on the lookout for the tell-tale signs.  The wee look of boredom.  Of “I’m over this”.  Of “I really want to leave”.  Of “How long until we can go home?”.   The roaming eyes.  The jiggling leg tick.  The fiddling with the keys tick.  The gathering all possessions tick. 

It is at this exact moment, that I put phase one of my avoidance trick into play.  Though, I do really have a few.  Best I list them.

1)  Phase 1 - I pretend I have to toddle off somewhere urgently.  Quickly ask someone something.  Help clear up even, if necessary.  Any activity, that takes me out of Grant’s sphere, so that he can’t actually say the words, “Let’s go home”.

2)  Phase 2 involves sending someone over to him, to engage him in conversation.  Thereby distracting him.  Normally a male friend.  I might even supply an opening conversational suggestion, for maximum delaying effect.

3)  Phase 3 – the word “coffee” has been found to have wonderful, marvellous, restorative properties.  As an avoidance tactic, it is highly effective.  Particularly, if the coffee on offer is really good.  As in filter, espresso, cappuccino, etc.  A quick cup of instant has no power whatsoever.  In fact, it loses me points.  And thus if that is the only hot beverage on offer, I’d rather not offer it at all.  It might actually serve to hasten Grant’s desire to leave.

4)  Phase 4 – this is the most powerful of all weapons in my arsenal.  The big guns, if you please.  And actually, if I’m truthful, Phase 4, is so powerful, that it can be used in conjunction, concurrently and parallel with Phases 1 to 3.  Phase 4, is simply known as “The no-eye-contact-zone”.  Now here’s my thinking.  If he can’t see me or find me, he can’t tell me he wants to go.  And thus I might even dispatch an envoy to put Phase 3 into the play – namely the coffee.  If I’m really on the top of my game, I can combine Phase 2 with Phase 3, and send a male friend over, with the coffee offer, with instructions, to start talking to Grant once he’s with him.  However, don’t send them with the coffee readymade.  This will rob you of time.  As you can be expected to calculate brewing time in the effective execution of Phase 3, for optimum time wastage.  To increase the delaying power.

5)  Phase 5 – only once I have exhausted Phases 1 to 4, can I put Phase 5 into play.  By this stage, the dishes have been cleared.  He’s finished talking to my envoy.  The coffee has been consumed.  And despite my best efforts, he managed to breach “The no-eye-contact-zone”.  Chances are, he’s even uttered the words, “Let’s go home”.  Now, and only now, do I resort to Phase 5 – seeking personal property.  I claim I need to go and fetch my bag.  Possibly the cooler bag, if it’s been that kind of an outing.  Usually “looking” for my camera, also works quite well.  Though desperate times call for desperate measures, and sometimes, pretence of ignorance as to where said items are, is also pretty successful.  Scrounging around – pretending I’ve misplaced them.  Useful for garnering at least about 5 extra minutes.  6 minutes, tops.  7 at a push, if you give it your all.

Take it from me – if you use my easy to follow steps, you too will eventually reach the level of skill that I have already acquired.  But be warned – it takes due diligence and loads of practice.  Preferably at social gatherings.  Perhaps I should accompany you?  And lead you through it.

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  2. I like your blogs so much beacause one can relate to them! It's so funny!!! The whole coffee thing! My mom ALWAYS says, "Ag Lilli! Net EEN nog koppie koffie dan ry ons!" Of "Mamma wil net vinnig 'n siggaretjie rook." No that I'm older to be able to learn from this, I can also play few cards of my own ;) LOL, like last weekend we went to visit her friend, was so rustig, my mom actually just wanted to go home so I was like "Ag mamma, net eeeeen nog koppie tee."

    1. Clever, Katarina!
      The same will probably work for me and Daya!

  3. I have seen you in action, Helene!
    You are an artist at work.
    Very generous to share like this.