Lu loaned me her laptop so I'm back in business. Of course Lu also told me I 'owed her' and that she could collect anytime she wanted. I'm guessing me and the pooper scooper are going to be getting downright chummy for a couple of weeks until I pry the price of a new computer out of my ass.
I've noticed something about bucolic Hurricane, Utah. The people here tend to stare. It threw me for a bit. I'm used to California where any eye contact longer than a split second is deemed 'Mad Dogging' and a mortal insult to a large percentage of the population.
When I taught crime prevention one of the things we talked about was this very issue. I always taught people, and especially women, to walk tall and confident. Head up, eyes scanning, shoulders back and arms swinging freely. Walking with downcast eyes and slumped shoulders is fairly shouting to the predators that here is easy prey. If you look like a victim it's pretty much assured someone will attempt to make you one. As for eye contact I taught a short meeting of the eyes and then back to scanning. Never look down afterward, just pause briefly and then resume your scan of your surroundings. No staring contests or attempts at intimidation, just a quick meeting of the eyes to let everyone who's interested know that you're alert, confident and not one to be taken unawares or lightly.
It's different here. I've had sharp words for more than one person who I caught openly staring. The thing about eye contact is that if you're challenged the options are to return the regard, challenge the starer openly or simply act as if nothing untoward is happening. I usually follow the course of avoiding trouble whenever and wherever I can and simply act as if I didn't care but sometimes a challenge should be met. Fortunately for me in every case the starer looked away red faced and acted genuinely contrite. It made me consider.
I now believe it's a small town phenomenon, maybe even something unique to small Mormon communities. I think they're looking for a family connection. In this area there's still a lot of tribalism. Many, even most, of the folks living here have a family connection to the founding and long term families. Lu has been approached more than once by people who either did or thought they recognized her or her family resemblance. The old families here do share a remarkable degree of familiarity. We've been to a few gatherings and a casual perusal made identifying family ties quite easy and illuminating. There was, and to an extent still is, some interbreeding. Oh it's generally at arms length but the numbers of distant cousins marrying and producing offspring is still quite high. Lu's father's family is a perfect example. The family resemblance even among the more distant cousins is striking, especially among the males. I saw 2 children of a family patriarch who recently passed away, one of Lu's uncles. They looked absolutely nothing like the family archetype. Turned out they were adopted. The rest of the family there could have been brothers and sisters, so closely did they look like one another.
So now I've had to reconsider my responses. Chances are that the guy staring openly at us is trying to decide which branch of the family we're connected to. Or rather Lu since I'm an outsider and look like one. Maybe a family member or friend trying to decide if he can approach and talk about all the things that are important to them. Of course he could also just be a creep checking out my oh so beautiful wife in which case all bets are off and a full set of lumps is in the offing. Do I ignore, greet or thump? I can't yet decide based on the small amount of input I have garnered so far.
Frankly it's giving me a headache. I need to run a course for these people; "Why Staring Is Rude". I don't know what the hell you're looking for but it's beginning to creep me out.
Please excuse me now while I go clean my carry piece.