5.7 How it happened and considering alternatives

Let’s take another look and, this time, watch carefully how the Customer 1 looks up at Customer 3, and what sort of facial expression he makes:

Re-watch the video clip and focus on man at the table’s facial expressions. What does he do in response to the customer and the buggy?

Customer 1’s response occurs in two parts. In the transcript it becomes easier to see because we have put it into the last two frames. In the first part he mouths an ‘okay’ response to Customer 3. In the second part he shifts his gaze to the buggy and thus by the direction of his gaze extends his smile toward the buggy.

Re-watch the video clip again.

Q: What are some of the alternative facial expressions he could have made on seeing the customer and her buggy? Try also breaking them down into sequences and then considering what they do to the arriving customer.

One alternative
Here is one possible counter-factual example. If Customer 1 had not smiled. The absence of a smile would no longer express his acceptance and welcome of the baby in the buggy joining him over his quiet mid-morning coffee and newspaper reading. Imagine a second scenario where he had grimaced as he shifted his gaze to the buggy. One thing we could say about the grimace is that it would have expressed his displeasure at the arrival of a potentially noisy set of new neighbours in his mid-morning newspaper reading.

Re-watch the video clip yet once more in the light of now having considered the alternatives. Having done that let us try swapping some of the objects around.

Q: What are some alternative objects the woman could have brought with her? Keep the sitting customer’s response the same and consider what that does.

One counter-factual
One possible counter-factual here is swapping the buggy for a dog. This helps us establish the buggy’s placement in a collection of entities in a cafe that customers can express their pleasure or displeasure at their presence. Our counter-factuals begin to help situate what his particular response did accomplish and how it did so, moreover it begins to establish the routine problems faced by parents of babies and dog owners in public places.