I was in a cab last night, feeling super-anxious as I was stupidly late to meet a friend for dinner. Adding to my impatience was the fact that the weather had turned snowy (aren’t we two seconds away from spring, wtf?) and the cab driver was taking it easy, aurgh! I didn’t care that the minivan in front of us was dangerously sliding all over Bathurst, I was late for dinner!
Sitting smack dab in the middle of the taxi’s backseat, I was positioned a little higher than usual – making my line of sight clearly visible to the driver through the rearview mirror. But I wasn’t conscious of this yet.
The cabbie asked me, “east or west of Bathurst?”
I rolled my eyes into the back of my head, trying to recall which direction I needed to go in. “East.”
Then I went off on what I thought was a private tangent in my head… ‘hmmm, I rolled my eyes to the right to remember that, so you roll your eyes to the right when you’re recalling the truth and the left when you’re constructing a lie? Hmmm, try and remember something else…’ and there I was in the back of a cab rolling my eyes in every which direction, like two fishing bobbers frantically signaling a catch, trying to establish the rules of eye language…
“Ma’am, it’s very snowy tonight and I just want to make sure we’re going in the right direction. It would be very hard for me turn around safely in this weather.”
Where did that come from? I looked into the rearview mirror to respond and realised that because of how I was situated in the backseat, the cabbie had witnessed my ill-thought of science experiment and perceived me as rude. And so he should.
I’m an ass. How do I explain this with one stop light to go before my destination? Then I try to justify the event in my head by accusing the cab driver of jumping to conclusions… That doesn’t last long, no, that’s crap, I’m the ass. I just decide not to say anything and offer him a really good tip. What a silly predicament.
On the topic of eye language, it turns out the whole thing is much more complicated than right vs. left when recalling or lying:
“When we recall visual information we look diagonally up to the left. On the other hand, when we look up to the right we are constructing visual information. Both visual and auditory construction have often been mislabeled as lying; this is only half true. Up to the right indicates they’re making things up but does not mean lying necessarily as they may be guessing or confused and not actually intending to deceive. Looking directly right means possibly constructing sentences – ie telling the truth but not sure how to word it. As you can see lying is not as black and white as someone just looking diagonally up right or directly right.”