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[ rants - Remember me this way... uh let's not ]

Strange Encounters of the High School Kind

When you're home for the summer or weekend it's inevitable you run into people you know or knew from childhood or high school. Usually at the supermarket (The girl jock was buying meat and alcohol!), Costco (Hot water polo guy was buying shirts!), Target Great Land (Leonardo Dicaprio look-alike from my junior high works there!), or the Mall (Too many encounters or spottings to mention). It's the same people that if you look in your yearbook wrote, "Keep in touch always and included home phone number, cell phone, pager, email, AIM and second cousin's aunt's number." Yet, you haven't spoken a word to them since graduation. So, it's always awkward to run into them, but you know you have to say something or acknowledge the fact that generations ago you fought over friends and studied for Chemistry together. Here's a run-down of what happens when one must endure the encounter.

1. Eye contact then the look of "Hey, I know you." This look must include an expression of feigned surprise followed by a smile. Showing the teeth is optional but recommended. Now this first step is tricky because you must quickly clean out the cobwebs of your brain and see if you even remember that person's name. In reality it's not that necessary, see step 2.

Alternative Step 1. Turn the other direction. Sometimes the thought of having to do all five steps is staggering. So, you can just turn the other direction and pretend you never saw them at all. This works when you either look like complete ass (because honestly who gets cute for Costco?), or you have a cart full of super absorbent overnight pads or tampons.

2. "Heey! How are you?" Now at this point you can insert the person's name and if you don't remember you can always do the awkward but effective "Hey you!"

3. The scan. A quick up and down look to see how much the person has changed. Look for weight gain, (The Jordan Catalano of GHS how could you? Why? Oh why?), complexion clear ups or issues (Come on, you knew these people at their most awkward stages, it's bound to cross your mind), and overall look. This step is crucial because any details are relayed to the few people you still talk to in high school. In my case, Banshee.

4. The conversation. The actual conversation runs approximately 3 minutes if you're in a crowded place and the person isn't behind the counter serving you. (Sidebar- Talk about awkwardness when the guy at Subway making your sandwich was in your senior physics class and you had no idea and you just ordered extra onions.) So the conversation runs a little something like this:

Person: So how have you been? How's your (insert family member, sibling, family pet)? Suburbia is suburbia even if you are on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Chances are that person and yourself not only share the same graduating class but also, you have siblings in a same class or school, your moms shop at the same grocery store, or your pets share the same vet. It's THAT connected.

You: Oh, I'm okay. What about you?At this point, they asked so you have to ask too.

Person: Yeah, the same. So are you graduating this year? Are you still in (So and So) School?

You: Oh, that's good. I'm (Insert your present state here.) What about you?

Person: (Inserts their persent state).

Awkward silence.

Person: Okay, well it was great seeing you!

You: Yeah, totally. Take care! Bye!

Person: Bye! Interesting how the exchange of future "keeping in touch" propositions is neglected. It's because you realize you no longer have anything in common with each other besides the fact that you once were lab partners or shared a good laugh decorating for Homecoming.

5. Turn back to whatever you were doing and explain to Mom, Sister, or friend that you either had no idea who that person was or that simply, "I went to high school with him/her."

6. Those pesky second encounters. In places like Target and Costco it's bound to happen. In the case of seeing someone a second time the awkwardness is worsened then it's better to employ alternative step 1 get a quick glance and look away quickly. Why go through all that fakeness again? Chances are, they're probably dreading it too.

Hmm... did this rant just make me sound like a cynical snob?

written by karen

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