Don’t sweat a child’s stare

Okayama

Regarding the May 22 Hotline to Nagatacho letter, “Parents, please keep your kids away from me at feeding time“: Maybe the small inquisitive children who are said to be drawn to the writer when she eats out in restaurants are wondering if, even by a miracle, the writer might speak to them or even just smile.

I’ve gone shopping before and ended up playing with a tot who came peeping around a corner at me. By the time her parent found her, we were waving and saying bye to each other, with the child grinning from ear to ear and the mother with a broad grin. I also had the experience, while traveling to a shopping site, of sitting a little distance away from a man and his daughter, who kept turning around and glancing at me. The man eventually told me she wanted to speak to me. I tried. No problem.

To take the cake, a lady was walking her dog, and as they passed, the dog looked up at my face. The dog seemed puzzled about something; it abruptly stopped, turned around and stared at me, catching the owner off guard. She struggled to turn the dog around and, after about 10 seconds, managed to get it walking. But something was bugging the dog. It turned around again and again — until the owner decided to let it satisfy its curiosity. It stood for about 30 seconds, just staring at me as I advanced, while the owner waited patiently. Then something seemed to click. The dog, with a “Hmm … OK” look in its eyes, turned away and continued its merry journey without ever looking back. Even dogs are curious.

Maybe the parents cited in the letter had no occasion or need to instill in their children the idea that it is rude to stare, as strangers don’t come around that often. Next time, the writer could try either waving and smiling or totally ignoring the child.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

vonnette osbourne