Before I start, here's one of the bands we're going to see at Lone Star Jam in Austin next month. It's some nice reading music. If you don't like country, don't start it.
Amongst the several weird idiosyncrasies I possess, staring seems to be the one that gets me in the most hot water – or at least what I perceive to be hot water. I doubt the subjects of my staring really care or even notice, but I get anxious because I think, oh, I hope they didn’t notice me staring for 5 seconds too long. For example, the other day I caught myself looking at a student in the hallway, who is neither in my class nor do I know (other than in passing), thinking to myself, she got a new haircut. Then the next thought is, Oh God, how long was I looking at her hair? Did she notice me staring at her hair? Look away. No, not at the other kid! The ground. The ground, you moron!
The worst time to be a starer like me is in the gym. There aren’t even any attractive women (or any women for that matter in my gym), so I could at least think, well, I’m staring at women. My gym is the opposite of Curves gym – they should call it Straights all male gym (hmmm… something about that sounds weird). Anyways, I watch men work out constantly. I’ve caught myself counting another man’s exercise reps out loud before. I could really creep some people out. “Hey bud, I was counting your push-ups using the reflections off the mirrors. Yeah, that’s how I knew how many you did even though I wasn’t facing you. Great form, man. Just damn fantastic.”
To make matters worse, I have a strange habit where I use my bottom lip to push my top lip up to my nose, like I’m getting ready to plant a huge kiss on someone. I think this habit formed from being paranoid about my breath in middle school and doing it in an attempt to smell my own breath. I don’t think I do it for that reason anymore, but I still do it without thinking and realizing I’m doing it. Well, I do this in the gym more than I would anywhere else. I guess there is something about the sweat on my nose and upper lip that makes me do it. Who knows? I DO know that staring intensely and making kissy faces at other men as they work out is somewhat unsettling. I wonder how many times someone at my gym has referred to me as that big, gay dude.
Fortunately, I will say that my mind has been trained to look forward in the gym locker room – I have far too many images of old man junk burned into my subconscious from the college locker room. So, yeah, that’s a win for me.
P.S. If you have time, watch Waiting for Superman. It’s about the crisis in our public school systems. The movie is inspiring, appalling, motivating, and hopeful all at the same time. Good stuff.