Staring and Staring
My wife remarked, upon first moving to Jamaica, how much we like to stare at people.
She couldn't understand it, and neither could I, because I didn't experience this phenomena at all,and she did. Then she mentioned that it happens especially at stop lights... and we figured it out.
We Jamaicans aren't really staring -- we are looking at each other to do a few important things, I tried to explain...
1) We are looking to see if we know you. Or, to put it more precisely, we are trying to remember where we know you from, because we are sure that we know you.
2) If we don't know you, we want to think that we know your mother, brother, father, sister, and we know that you look just like them.
3) By the time we figure out that we don't know you and that you don't remind us of anyone, and that you look fairly average, you have caught us "staring."
I vividly remember taking my first subway trip in New York City and being amazed at how hard people had to work in order to avoid eye contact. In the larger cities, at least, this is everyday behaviour.
Here in the Caribbean, "nutten no go so!" This undoubtedly takes some getting used to.
Labels: Ja culture