A Deer in Headlights

I was on the subway when I noticed a black man in his early 30’s standing in front of me. He wasn’t ‘cool’ by any standards, but he seemed like an average guy with dress pants and a polo shirt and a gym bag. He was maybe a little different in his demeanour but definitely not offensive. There was a young, attractive blond woman standing close by. The man was smiling to no one in particular and then said something to her about having to have good balance. She stared at him like a deer in headlights, and then had a frozen semi smile on her face. He stepped closer and repeated “You have to have really good balance on here”. He was smiling so happily. The young woman remained with a frozen smile and then stepped back slowly before turning and walking 10 steps away. The guy looked a little embarrassed, he glanced around to see if anyone noticed. I averted my eyes quickly. A second later I said “I’m pretty impressed with your balance”. He looked relieved for a second and then gushed excitedly “I know right – it’s not easy. Man, sometimes they jolt you all over the place and it takes everything in you to stay standing”. I smiled and nodded and said “well, you’re skilled”. That was it.

Just a simple moment of acknowledgement – that’s all most people need.