I really hate when I run into somebody that I don't know very well. You know who I'm talking about. They're the "I-think-I-know-you're-name-but-I'm-only-98-percent-sure-so-I'm-gonna-just-call-you-buddy" acquaintances that you aren't really friends with. It's the people you work with or you've seen at the gym or waved to in the neighborhood. If you see them in the right setting, it's fine. Passing in the hall at the office? Nod and smile. Leaving the gym at the same time? Throw out a little "seeya next time" and get in your car. Driving past as they check their mail? Wave and nod. But when you find yourself waiting in line at the post office and they're directly in front of you? That's where it gets tricky. If you avoid talking to them, then you’re weird or rude for not wanting to. But if you tap them on the shoulder and say, "Hey fancy seein' you here!" then you're just a creepy weirdo. If I have the option, I usually just run out as quick as possible. Awkward silence and flimsy small-talk make me light-headed. If I don't leave I start talking really high-pitched and try too hard to act casual. Plus, I tend to say stuff without thinking.
-"Hey, fancy seein' you here!" Man, why did you say that? He didn't even see you!
-"Oh hey Taylor."
-"Hey... uh... buddy. Whatcha got goin' on today?" Oh no! What's his name?!
-"Well, I gotta mail this package to my sister in Omaha."
-"Gotcha. Yeah, I'm mailin' a package too. Sendin' my mom some stuff." Why am I not pronouncing the g's?! I sound like an idiot!
-"Cool. Nothing like the post office on a Friday afternoon."
-"Yeah." Okay, leave it at that. Don't say anything else, and you can just deal with the awkward silence. Just last a few more seconds and you're free to... "So you got any plans this weekend, buddy?" What am I doing? I didn't mean to say that!
-"Uh, no. We're just gonna stay home and relax. What about you guys?"
-"Oh nothin'." Seriously! Where are my g's?! "I got a new grill. So we'll probably grill some burgers and stuff."
-"Oh, that's cool. Hope you guys have fun."
-"Yeah, it'll be good. Hey..." No, don't do it! You're almost clear! "Why don't you guys join us?" You idiot!
And that's how acquaintances become your fake friends. So like I said, I usually just run out as quickly as possible and hide in the backseat of my car (where the windows are nicely tinted) until they leave. Or I find the closest piece of paper I can that has writing on it and study it without raising my head until I know he's gone.
Okay, I gotta go. What's-his-name and his family are coming over for a barbeque. I have to go buy a new grill.