We had another interesting exercise in our writing group. Each of us opened a book of essays at random and took the first sentence on the page as the start of a story. I opened up one of the books and found this sentence:
When I see a stranger staring at me through my window, I just naturally get nervous.Here's what I wrote (we didn't have to use the sentence as the actual first sentence of what we wrote, but I did anyway):
When I see a stranger staring at me through my window, I just naturally get nervous. "What do they want? Is my hair a mess? did I just pick my nose?" Being in a car seems like its own world, I feel like I should be invisible to the outside world, even though it is completely visible to me. Like I was in a suit of armor, fully protected by the metal all around me. But my visor is fully open, the windshield might as well be a shop window.
Maybe that's what makes me nervous. Instead of securely situated in my steel and chrome, I'm on display for any gawker who wants to stop and spend their time on me. Did I agree to this? Where's my privacy? Why not look at someone else? Other drivers must be more attractive or interesting, right?
The worst part is when you make eye contact. A sudden realization and a sudden glance away look guilty. Were they staring for their own amusement or some shameful pleasure? What is so wrong (or so right) about me? At least the awkward moment is over quickly when the light changes. Unless, of course, I'm parked.
The worse sort of eye contact is when they only stare even harder or longer. Is that grin on their face really menacing or creepy, or am I being paranoid? Are they trying to be friendly and not know they are coming off creepy? Or are they trying to cover their awkwardness or embarrassment? When will this eye contact end? "Change, light!" I think.
Worst of all is when they keep looking and I've gone through all sorts of scenarios in my head and I drive off and I look back and they're still staring at the same spot where I and my window used to be. The same stare, blank and meaningless, until I filled it with leering or lunacy. Maybe I am the crazy one. Not the conclusion I want to have. So yea, when I see a stranger staring at me through my window, I just naturally get nervous.