Saved By the Bell
Since I currently live in the city where I grew up, I’m running into a lot of people I went to high school with. I’m not talking about my friends from high school who I’d love to catch up with; I mean the kind of people whose Facebook advances I avoided for my entire college career.
It’s not that I hate these people or wish them any immediate and lasting harm; it’s just that I don’t really know them and their absence from my life has not affected me in the least. We just happened to be educated in the same building for a period of our youth.
One of the more unpleasant types of former classmate encounters is the kind where they keep trying to make small-talk when all you want them to do is take your order. I don’t mean at a decent restaurant, as many people my age work as waiters and waitresses; I mean the kind of food-related occupation you went to high school to avoid. It’s always awkward to pick a spot in the conversation to interrupt them and say “I’ve had enough of conversing with you like a real person for the moment, so stop talking and assemble my panini.”
Another uncomfortable situation is one where you run into someone who has acquired a great deal of life baggage in the short amount of time since you last saw them, such as a hundred pounds or children.
“Glad I’m not you…I mean ‘GOOD SEEING YOU’”.
Recently, I ran into a girl I went to high school with and participated in one of the dumbest conversations I’ve ever had in my life. We ran into each other outside of a store and did the basic “Oh hey! How are you?” exchange, and then I started the follow-up questions. I asked her if she was still in school and said no, explaining that she had gone to community college for a couple of months and had no interest in continuing with her high education career . That’s fine, college isn’t for everyone, so I asked if she was working. No again. Hmm. If she wasn’t in school, she must have been working, so I started to reexamine my questions to see where I may have confused her.
From my experiences with her in school, I remembered she was a little dumb, so I rephrased the part of the question I thought may have fooled her:
“Oh, I didn’t mean are you working right this second, I mean do you have a job?”
“Ohhhh yeah, I work in a restaurant.”
Really? Did she genuinely believe I was asking if she was working right that second? The only scenario I can think of where that could be possible is if she was a hooker, and she wasn’t even slightly offended about me inquiring about her possibly being a prostitute.
“Oh, am I working right now? Nope, I’m actually not selling myself on the streets but thanks for asking!”