Sitting in the lounge of the local health center, hosting a couple of physicians of various fields, with a long desk as the reception, one can observe people coming and going, interacting with each other verbally or non-verbally. Visitors coming through the big automatic front glass door immediately feel themselves observed by other people once they step into the brightly-lit hall.
The receptionists at the long counter, all of which young females in their twenties, observe people entering, and estimate and await their concerns. The people waiting in the lounge, patients themselves or accompanying their relatives, are busy doing something. Many pass their time by watching the folks in the hall, finding some places to put their eyes on even if for a brief moment.
Those who enter, once they realize that other people are watching them start acting differently. Their gazes become focused towards where they are heading – the reception desk. This is a form of politely and non-verbally saying something in the vein of “I do not notice you watching me.”
Some, accustomed to always greeting and being hailed back, mumble or shout a short and impersonal “Morning”, hoping tacitly at least somebody may hail back. Indeed, even though not everybody responds, at least someone always does. That gives those the minimum recognition for which they hope. Feeling acknowledged and with a slight sense of satisfaction, those steer towards to the reception desk, repeating the perfunctory ‘Morning’: „I have an appointment with Dr. Cornell.” „Sure, what’s your name?“