I was thinking today, as I walked along the canal towpath at lunch, how much of our animal instinct we’ve retained. Perhaps that’s not the correct way to word it…it’s more that there is so much that is unspoken that we understand on a subconscious level. Stoke-on-Trent, as anyone who lives here knows, is not the safest and most beautiful of cities. It’s a bit unnerving to walk under bridges and down deserted pathways, because much of it is just not safe (as in any large urban area). I find that I avoid meeting the eyes of passersby, just as I would if walking down a street at night in New York. In the village where we live, in comparison, I feel safe; I meet people’s eyes and smile or say hello. I know a lot of the shopkeepers; they call me love or petal or flower. It’s nice. Here, however, it’s a bit like encountering an aggressive dog – you don’t stare directly into their eyes to avoid initiating an aggressive response. In New York or Los Angeles you never wanted to really make eye contact with anyone, because if they were a nut, you didn’t want them focused on you.
I just thought it was interesting. Body language and eye contact, all subconscious, non-verbal communication.