I stepped onto the elevator today in the business building, and as I did, I noticed a girl who was already in the car glance down at my feet and do a double take. I wear Vibram Fivefingers, so it's not terribly uncommon for people to react that way from time to time. They are certainly an unconventional shoe.
However, after I walked into the elevator and turned around, I could feel her eyes on me. She was staring at my face, which was situated on the message that I was typing on my phone. I could sense that she wanted to ask me about them, but was probably trying to avoid starting an awkward elevator conversation. For the entire time that I was in the elevator, I could feel her gaze; interrupted only momentarily every so often to avoid complete awkwardness, but still always returning to its initial focus.
I don't know why I did not just turn and look back at her. She was certainly very attractive. I guess I didn't want to get into a discussion about the shoes five seconds before the elevator reached my floor, but I can't be sure. That feels to me like a justification for actively avoiding human contact.
The elvator stopped on my floor and I stepped off. As I did so, I heard her say to another girl in the elevator, "Did you see his shoes?"
"No," the other replied quietly, preoccupied by her own cell phone.
"They were really cool..."
This was the last thing that I heard before the doors slid shut with their characteristic vocalization of friction.
Why couldn't I at least just look back at her and smile?