Don’t you hate it when you see someone you recognize, walk up to say hi, and discover they have no idea who you are?
My college is a teensy liberal arts school in a small town. There are about 1300 students total (which is half the population of my high school!). So you pretty much recognize everybody on campus by face even if you don’t actually KNOW them. And even the people you don’t KNOW you still see at parties, all drunk and sweaty and ridiculous. Actually, if you did not drink, I probably would not recognize you. Just kidding! Sort of.
Anyway, all of this is to explain why, when I saw Pam* on the elevator at work last week, I realized I had to say hello. I was trapped.
Me: (four separate times in three previous weeks, on the street near my office) Look! There’s Pam again! I bet she works around here. Yep, she must work nearby because I’m seeing her all over the damn place. This is awkward; I’m going to pretend I don’t see her because I don’t like awkward and we weren’t actually like, FRIENDS, but she did come over that one time and you know we sort of worked together junior year so maybe I should…well, she’s not even looking so I’ll just keep going.
(Yes, I am that neurotic, thanks for asking.)
Me: (last Wednesday, getting on the elevator at work) Pam?
Pam: >blank stare<
Me: You went to Knox, right? You were friends with Rachel T—?
Pam: (cautiously) Yeeees?
Me: I’m good friends with Rachel! I’m Austin! I went to Knox, too!
Pam: (still eying me like I might proceed to try and sell her Streetwise) Oh, how’s Rachel doing these days? I emailed her but never got a response.
Me: Oh, she’s great! She’s doing really well. You know, law school and work and stuff. And we’re neighbors! Isn’t that funny!? ohmygod SHUT UP YOU IDIOT! Way too much enthusiasm for someone you barely know who CLEARLY does not know you. What is taking this fucking elevator so long??
Pam: Wow, she’s working AND going to law school? How does she manage that?
Me: Oh, you know she’s stressed and stuff but she’s handling it really well. And we walk home together! From work! You could meet us sometime if you want to see her!
Yes. I actually invited this poor girl to walk home with me. In a way-too-excited-about-that-possibility tone.
The end of the story is that the elevator doors opened and she practically ran away from me. I have not seen her since. I think she might be avoiding me?
And you know, may I just say that even though I came on a little – ahem – strong I think she is the one who’s a total weirdo here. Who goes to such a tiny school, works with a person, lives for a year in the same (small) building, befriends their super-close friend, comes to their house for drinks, and DOESN’T EVEN REMEMBER THEIR FACE? Like…zero recognition. I’m telling you, dudes, not cool. Not cool at all.
From now on I wait for others to make the first move. And also write some sort of script for myself for these situations because obviously I do not function at full-speed on the spot.
*Name changed to protect the innocent. Well, actually, to protect me from defamation of character or some other such law suit because Christ, ISN’T EVERYBODY GETTING SUED OVER SOMETHING THESE DAYS?