Archive | 11:51 PM

The Surprise Run-In

25 Jan

Blasts from the pasts. You try to avoid them at all costs. You don’t live in the same neighborhood. You don’t go to your high school reunion because you know you’re going to run into people you don’t want to see and anybody you want to “catch up with” you’ve found on Facebook. But then the inevitable happens in a place where you least expect it. At Target. At Trader Joes. At CVS Pharmacy. Even at RadioShack. The surprise run-in.

You don’t go to these places in your best attire, early in the morning. You usually go for a quick in-and-out mission, or if you’re like me you went to RadioShack after working out just to get a special outlet for the battery charger. You figure RadioShack in your neck of the woods…what are the chances of running into anybody?

RadioShack sells Maker Faire tickets!

Image by Bekathwia via Flickr

You show up all perspired in your t-shirt and sweats, with non-matching socks because you were just trying to get out the door. One sock with stripes the other without. No make-up, but you don’t wear much to begin with and if you did your workout would probably have melted it away.

You walk in and hear the ding-a-ling of the bell. You head straight toward the battery section and stare at it for five minutes, thinking you can select one before the RadioShack guy comes to help you out. You feel someone approaching and think time is expiring. You’re a moron. You can’t even pick a battery charger, granted there are like 27 of them hanging there on metal hooks, but you went to college figure it out, right?

As you hear the footsteps, you look up. Someone is smiling at you.

“Heyyyyyyyyy! What a surprise! Oh my God how are you?”

It’s a blast from the past. Your surprise run-in.

You do a quick turn around to run your fingers through your Bride-of-Frankenstein hair, dab your face with your shirt and fold over you drunken socks, before turning around and smiling back.

My surprise run-in wasn’t someone I disliked or an ex-boyfriend or anything. He was a classmate and friend. I was the classic sporty spice, good-looking tomboy that got along pretty well with guys. So I wasn’t really threatening to chicks when I hung out with dudes. I mean they’d take a look at me in my Levi’s and college t-shirts by day and basketball uniform by evening and think nothing of it. They were cheerleaders, wearing short-shorts. I was balling on the court and wearing t-shirts. We did not hang out in the same circles, so I hung out with guys.

My blast from the past and I chatted it up a bit. The basic what-are-you-doing-now stories, although I left the part out about living at my parents. That’s really a need-to-know basis. He was doing well. Had kids. A wife. A good job. Looked happy and sounded happy. I told him about my starving writer gigs and being a parent, and he gave me the congrats pat on the shoulder.  Then he began with his compliments and how great he thought I looked and informing me how he ran into other people and how out of shape and weathered they appeared to be, but that I looked the same as I did over twenty years ago. I was feeling pretty good about my sweaty self until…

“Yeah, you look great! You look the same as you did in high school. You have the same bags under your eyes and everything.”

Dude. I was speechless, and that doesn’t happen often. But there I was with the same bags under my eyes, exchanging emails and saying see you later to an old friend. And as I heard the ding-a-ling when he departed I thought:

Next stop CVS Pharmacy. They got concealer. They got eye moisturizer. Maybe more than 27 of them.

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