Monday, March 01, 2004

Pointless story #452

Normally I wear sunglasses when outside, but I lost my sunglasses a few weeks ago. So last week I'm walking down the street and it's middle of the afternoon and kind of warm out, and I've been in meetings for hours. And I'm walking past this bar called Dos Gringos, and I kind of look at this guy. Not stare, but look over as one always does to ensure a person heading toward you is not weilding a meat cleaver or about to kick you in the nards. And the dude looks me in the face and I involuntarily give the "what's up?" head nod. it's about half an inch up and then back again, indicating, "I see you buddy," but that's nonverbal communication usually used for folks you know, or have even seen before.

But not for this guy, because he says "Hey, what's up?" and I'm still walking. And he's not a hipster. And he doesn't look like a guy who usually casually hi-fives people on the street. Not having sunglasses on, he can clearly see I was, in fact, looking at him.

Sidenote story: A while back i was telling my co-workers how cool it was to be in Houston in the summer of 1994 when the Houston Rockets won the NBA Championship. As part of my story, I described how folks were high-fiving total strangers out on the street, and how great the feeling of community spirit was. Apparently, my co-workers mistook that I thought in civilized society, people should be high-fiving everywhere. Anyhow, it's now an office joke that my vision of utopia would involve a lot of high-fiving. Which, upon reflection, if there's no high-fiving in heaven, I don't want to go.

So anyhow, this guy stops and turns as if to talk to me, and I stop, because I suddenly think maybe I know this guy (he is wearing sunglasses and I might not have recognized him at first.) So I stop and do the head bob again.

"So what's up?" he says again. And not threateningly, but rather with a high degree of familiarity. At this moment I realize with absolute certainty that while he looks a bit like the guy who runs my local comic shop, I do not know this guy. No clue at all who he might be. And I wonder who he thinks I am.

"Not much." I shrug.

And then he looks at me for a second, and I think he begins to realize I am NOT the guy he thought I was. Or not. I do not know. But he's not going to let this go. "So what's been going on?"

"Not much," I say, and then, looking down the street in the direction I was headed, I add: "Gotta run."


And for some reason it left me completely flustered. I do remember talking to a girl I couldn't identify for half an hour one day when i worked at the Disney Store. I knew I SHOULD know who the girl was, and she clearly knew me, but the hangover which was screaming in my head, and the taste of stale cigar in my mouth was kind of making me miserable. She was also fairly good looking, so I WANTED to remember who she was, but it wasn't helping. I talked to her for a long while and I laughed and I kidded with her. Eventually she had to go, and I had to go back to making it look like I was working. Later, I thought maybe she was a girl I knew from a neighboring high school, but my dim memories of her from high-school had involved a lot of stage make-up, and my new memories were clouded by how very, very hungover I was.

But this wasn't even like my chance encounter with (possibly) Jenny S. This was just... some guy. Anyway, I wondered if he wondered who the hell I was, or if he was even aware I was the wrong guy. I mean, I'm always willing to pretend to be someone I'm not, but I need a little prep work and a few key details. And then i wondered how far that conversation could have gone before he realized I was not, in fact, the guy he thought I was. Especially if I insisted I WAS the person he was looking for.

Of course there is always the possibility I DID know this guy. I do that a lot. I think i haven't met somebody, but I have, in fact, spent hours with them. This happens a lot with faculty. I think I've never met them and then they get angry, insisting we met a year and a half ago. Or, even better, when I go to a meeting and realize in hour two that this is a different meeting than the one I thought I was attending. That used to happen a lot.

Anyway, wherever that dude is, I hope he's not soliciting the head bob from folks and then stopping them all over town. Moreover, i hope to god I didn't actually know that guy.

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