A couple days ago I was walking home from the Giant grocery store up the street from where I live. I was waiting at one of the many busy intersections waiting to cross the street when I noticed a guy and girl jogging toward me. They looked to be in the middle of a running partner exercise session.
“Hi,” the guy said casually with just as casual a smile after he had given me the once over.
“Hi,” I said half-surprised, half-friendly, definitely with a “And who are you? Do I know you…?” look.
“You go to AU,” he said.
“I did,” I said. “But I graduated.”
“I went there when you went to school there a couple years ago.”
The signal turned green and the guy and girl jogged across the street while I was left standing there with my big bag of groceries.
Huh? Wait. What…just…happened…? I thought. That’s it? No introduction? No name? Who are you? Why…?
I crossed the street and walked home, thinking about what just happened.
After three minutes of digestion I called my best friend Nick. I hadn’t spoken to Nick in weeks and I was hoping he would pick up. We always end up playing phone tag. Thankfully, he answered. After the usual, Hey, what’s up? Am I calling you at a bad time?, I told him the real reason I was calling.
“Can I tell you what just happened?”
“Genny. GENNY. What just happened?” said Nick in his usual Nick tone of voice – somewhere between eager curiosity and tell me now or else I’m going to BEAT YOU THE FUCK UP.
I recounted the story.
“What? That’s it?” he asked.
“Well, yeah…But it got me thinking. Dude, Nick, people are paying attention to you. You may not know it but they are. People are looking out for you. That’s crazy!”
“Yeah, I guess so…Wait, so you didn’t recognize him?”
“No! I’ve never seen him before ever in my life!”
“But he remembered you. And he just went up to you and said hi?”
“Genny, that’s interesting because I feel like this happens all the time – you see someone you recognize from class or walking down the street but you don’t say anything. I know I do that.”
“But this guy actually came up to you and said hi.”
“I know. And now that I think about it, I’m kind of glad he said hi. I was really impressed. You’re right; people just don’t do that. It kind of turned me on. Is that weird?”
“He obviously remembered you for something.”
“And I’ll never know why.”
“He probably saw you on campus all the time. Or maybe you guys had a class together.”
“Maybe…But Nick, it’s so crazy knowing that there are people out there who notice you and you don’t even know it. I didn’t even think about that until now. That means people are looking at you! Nick, there are people who are out there you don’t even know who are paying attention to you.”
“You mean, I’m not invisible?”
“Shut the fuck up. NO.”