While wandering through Paris this weekend my friend and I discussed the pros and cons of making eye contact. Because she does not generally make eye contact with strangers, she rarely has to refuse the street vendors and shysters pretending to conduct polls for a good cause. On the other hand; I believe I have a more rich experience by connecting with people throughout the day, sometimes being rewarded with a spontaneous conversation or something else unexpected.
Today she may have scored a point.
While standing in a long line for passport control, surrounded by a tour bus full of people, I made eye contact with a security person. He invited me to leave the line and join him in a non-line, so I did.
At this point one point is scored for making eye contact.
He then asked me to place my carry on bags in the measuring device, and made a face because I had one bag plus my computer bag. I reminded him that I am allowed to do so on international flights.
So far, everything is okay, kind of. But I was considering giving a point to my friend's side of the debate.
He then weighed my two bags together and told me I was 4kg over the limit. Would I consider lightening the load a bit? Well I could not think of any way to do so, since I was headed to Shanghai for 4 days and was quite proud of bringing only carry on.
He checked me over carefully, I suppose wondering what of the articles of clothing I was wearing I would be willing to leave behind. Okay I thought this but laughed at myself for my belief that this young whippersnapper had any such interest in me.
He then told me I would almost certainly need to check my bag. Okay point for non-eye contact moving forward.
Then he asked when I was returning.
You arrive Thursday?
Okay have dinner with me Friday and I will let you pass.
Seriously? This works?
I politely declined, laughed a bit to show there were no hard feelings on my part for being pulled out of line unnecessarily, and proceeded through passport control as if this were all a little joke.
So, will I stop making eye contact?
In fact I had a nice chat with the officer at passport control and received a warm smile, almost unheard of from these guys, and won back at least a point for my side.