The People You Don’t See

It occurs to me that I have lived in Blacksburg for roughly five years now. And in that time, I’ve discovered that there are a number of people I’ve known from high school and college who also live in this, technically, small town. But, in those five years, I have never run into a single one of them outside of social media.

How is that?

Granted, I don’t go out that much. But I’m not a hermit. I do normal adult things. I go to the store. I go out to eat from time to time. I’ve even been known to walk around downtown when the occasion calls for it.

So why have I never run into any of these acquaintances from past lives. I mean, I’ve heard stories of people in larger cities running into old friends who just happened to be in town for the weekend. A friend from work runs into people she knows so often, we jokingly refer to her as the mayor of Blacksburg. In this smallish town where I happen to live full time along with a number of other people who also live in the same smallish town full time, I never run into anyone.

If the Facebook news feed is to be believed, I’ve often shopped in the same grocery store as others I know. I’ve been in the same areas at the same times as others I know. I’ve even worked for the same employer, though not at the same time as others I know. Crazy, right?

Office Space - Avoiding.gifI’ll admit, sometimes I let the introvert in me win out when I see someone I might know at Kroger. But those instances are always cases of not being sure where to place that person I might know. The biggest example that comes to mind is that, once I saw a woman who I instantly recognized as someone I should know, but I avoided walking down the same aisle as her because I couldn’t remember where I knew her from. I was later reminded that she’s taken my blood before.

I don’t mean she’s a vampire. I donate blood. She’s drawn it from my arm…

Anyway, I avoided that situation because I didn’t want to be embarrassed about not knowing how I knew her. But if I see someone that I know I know, I’ll definitely speak. It might be awkward and I might not know what to say beyond a friendly, “Hey, how’ve you been?”

Ron Swanson - Avoiding.gifSo if you see me walking by and the tears are in my eyes, look away.

No, that’s not what I meant to say. If you see me around town and you think you know me from somewhere, stop me and force me to talk to you. It’ll be a great story I can tell people later. “Oh, guess who I ran into at Mellow Mushroom yesterday!”

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