Friday, April 20, 2012

Good To See You Too!

A couple of nights ago, I was making a late-ish run to Publix. As I walked in the door, I nodded to a man walking out. He was carrying a 24-pack of soda on his shoulder and really studying me. Nice-looking fellow.

Then he said, "Mary Ann. Mary Ann! I haven't seen you in so long!" He was looking right into my face and I figured that in just a split second, he would realize his mistake. But he just kept grinning at me.

I shook my head slightly and said, "Sorry, wrong person. I'm not Mary Ann."

And immediately, for some INSANE reason, I felt like I was lying. That I really WAS MARY ANN and didn't want to run into this guy.

(I am crazy. Also, why did I feel the need to apologize?)

Then, THEN, he goes, "But it is such a coincidence because your name came up at lunch today! And I said, 'Mary Ann! I haven't seen her in so long!'"

And I'm just shaking my head, like, nope, still not that person. Not a coincidence.

And then he seemed so crestfallen. And he goes, "And then there you were!"

So I said, ruefully by this point, "But it was not to be." Then he said, embarrassed, "Well, sorry to bother you, good night," and walked on.

But I don't know if he believed me! I think he thought I really was Mary Ann. I am not even kidding you right now!

Reader, I felt a little bit bad that I couldn't be Mary Ann for him. I mean, not in any particular way. But I don't know. It was odd being the obverse/wrong side of someone's fortuitous-encounter-that-wasn't. Now, the next time (if ever) he does run into Mary Ann, his meeting with her will be haunted by his failed meeting with her/me at Publix. And maybe he even left there harboring ill feelings toward Mary Ann if he did in fact think I was really her and that I/she didn't want to be recognized by him. Do you see? Problems!

I think I need to pour all of this out on Craigslist and see if we three can find each other and work it out.

Any missed/chance/misleading encounters you need to process?


Beth said...

Wow, poor Mary Ann guy. He was willing you to be Mary Ann.

We had a weird encounter that wasn't missed but was crazy coincidental. Background: Steve used to TA a summer course at UCLA that enrolled a lot of international students. Then, we took a trip to Japan in 1998, 2 years after Steve had been this TA. We were in one of a gajillion souvenir shops in Tokyo, waiting in line to buy some trinkets. And Steve looked at the woman behind the counter and said to me, "You are going to think I'm crazy, but I think I know that woman." Turns out, she had been one of his students in that class. And then she checked us out in Tokyo. When Steve first approached her, she looked a little like she thought he was going to stab her or something, and then when she realized who he was she was as stunned we both were.

Nina said...

Do you think Mary Ann even exists? I reckon that guy goes around pretending to think women he sees in shops are Mary Ann just for a laugh.

I've always lived in London, but was once in Coventry (small city 100 miles away, not a popular destination for any reason) for the day visiting my cousins who were staying with their grandparents. I was in the train station going home, and one of the station staff came up and told me the answer to a question I hadn't asked. So I went, "Huh?" and then he said, "Oh sorry, it was her," and pointed to someone who'd just appeared behind me. It was a girl from my class at secondary school - teachers used to mix us up sometimes. She doesn't live in Coventry either. It was weird.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I hope he actually gets to run into her.

Anonymous said...

Yk, I have to say that I have never been mistaken for another; the flipside of that is people can see me, from the rear, 300 yds away and home in, sure of their quarry. Except in NYC, where I can blend a little more.

However, you only denied being Mary Ann? Like, you didn't say, "No, I'm Becky. Who wants to know?" or promise him 2 more guesses to get yr name right? See, this is why no one thinks I should be allowed out unsupervised.

Oh, but in that vein, of not being let out, I did want to invite you to consider that maybe yr unease comes from the fact of his vulnerability and wrongness and persistence which you sidestepped when you avoided but didn't aver. Like he stepped into the messiness of humanity and I think you were a little, yk, "Dude, you splashed me. Dry-cleaning bill."

On the other hand, based on what we know to be true, this is a similar way to that in which Ted Bundy initiated contact with his victims, so it's fine, your manner. (see also: no one thinks I should be allowed out unsupervised.)

Camp Papa said...

The only way you talk to that guy is if he is bleeding out from major trauma. Then, you can hold his hand and be
Mary Ann for his last few minutes.

Steve said...

I'm with Camp Papa on this one.

Keely said...

You're a people pleaser!

swedisheik said...

This made me laugh.

Cassi Renee said...

Your post and all the comments/stories made me laugh!

I often have past students say hello to me in stores --sometimes I had them 17 years ago, and have absolutely no idea if they really were students of mine. I'm never really sure what to say to them, especially if they don't appear to be using that degree they were working toward all those years ago.

Veronica said...

I remember once I ran into a guy in the Thai restaurant parking lot in Santa Cruz, and we stood there for a moment with the "I know you!" look, but I could not for the life of me think who he was -- a former student, perhaps? A grad student from another department that I'd met at some point? But he yelled out, "V!!" and I thought, no, none of my students call me by my nickname... uh-oh, he remembers me well enough to know my nickname and I can't place him! Then he said his name, first and last, and it suddenly clicked -- we had gone to undergrad together, and he wasn't a Santa Cruz person at all, which was why it had been hard to place him. Then, as I was processing all that, he asked, "How in the hell do we know each other?" and I had to remind him of that part. So, it turns out we both needed help remembering each other.

Becky said...

V, it's great that you were both able to come clean about not knowing your connection! I've had some uncomfortable chats with people where I know we were both thinking, "Who IS this?"

People pleaser pretty much nails it. Though, honestly Elle, I can see why you're need adult supervision! Two guesses to get my name?!? LOL forever. It did occur to me that if I were so inclined it could have been a total pick-up moment. I could have said, "I can be Ginger too," or such. I was smiling and friendly in demeanor the whole time though.

But no worries, he wasn't about to Ted Bundy me because I was standing inside the foyer of Publix. I could have immediately pelted him with vine-ripe tomatoes, on sale for $1.29/lb.