I now know that it is a problem. It all started years ago. I found myself winking at friends when we were sharing a joke. It just felt good. And then before I knew it, I was winking throughout the day. At work, out to dinner, even in church. I found that most social situations could benefit from a wink--or so I thought. I'm an active listener, you see. And in my wink-addled brain, a wink conveyed interest, shared humor, empathy, amusement.
Some time later, I found myself walking down a sidewalk one day. Isn't that how all these stories begin? I passed by a man walking the opposite direction. In the South, where I was raised, it's customary to flash a brief, perfunctory smile to someone you pass by and make eye contact with. I swear, that's all I meant to do. But after he'd passed me, I realized I'd winked at him. And smiled! I was shocked and embarrassed. How long have I been winking at men I don't even know, I wondered. The Lord only knows.
I began aggressively curtailing my winking habit. Eye patches helped. Shock therapy. I tell you, it hasn't been easy. And lately, since living in Sydney I find I've been doing it again. The problem is, Sydney is a very multi-cultural city. Winking can convey lots of different meanings, I think, to different cultures. And so, depending on who I'm accidentally winking at, I fear that I've obligated myself to do one or more of the following:
- Marry someone's son
- Sell a goat for a fair price
- Cheat at a card game
- Hire a hit man
- Buy someone's groceries
I am working on my winking tendencies. What do you think some acceptable substitutions are? Thumbs-up? Slow nodding? Forehead slapping? I just don't know.
What about you? I mean, you're here at the QuSIF meeting, after all. Anything you need to confess?