11 February 2009

Don't hang yourself with a celibate rope

Highs around 50, that's the forecast for tomorrow. Even if it does rain, that still sounds real nice. A good day to pick up the dvd I requested from the library. With any luck, friendly Nick with the great smile and thick, almost unruly hair will be working the desk.

And then there's the general store. I first stopped in back in September. The day after Thanksgiving, I stopped in to get some stocking stuffers. The moment I walked through the door, the shopkeeper said, "Hey, you've been in before. Right?"

"Yeah. A couple months ago." Generally I prefer scoping out stores as if I'm invisible, so being placed as soon as I crossed the threshold unnerved me a bit. A while later, as I looked around, the shopkeeper said, "Did I ask your name last time?"

"No." A combination of perverse humor, nervousness, and a general aversion to talking to strangers kept me from saying anything further.

"What's your name?"


"Hey, Claire. I'm showing my jewelry at a holiday craft fair coming up. Here, let me give you an invitation." She reached under the counter and handed me a promotional postcard.

"Thanks." I resumed looking by the opposite wall several feet away, beyond a partial divider that could be seen through. I surreptitiously read the postcard, finding her name on the back.

"Did I tell you my name?"

I turned to face her, smiled and said, "No."

"I'm Carrie."

"Hey, Carrie."

The whole encounter could be chalked up to salesmanship and self promotion. I noted how she dealt with other customers: friendly, clearly an outgoing person, but she didn't engage them in conversation quite as much.

When I was leaving, she said, "You're from around here, so I'll see ya."

I paused before crossing the threshold and said, "See you around, Carrie." She looked... surprised in a good way is my best guess. I assume that my using her name again is what caught her off-guard in that moment.

I didn't make it to the craft fair and I haven't been back since, but I find myself searching for a reason to buy some novelty as an excuse to stop by. The chatting puts me out of my comfort zone, I'm not fond of her name, and she reminds me of an old bipolar friend of mine in her pre-meds days when she was manic. And yet, I wonder if she'd remember me a second time and if she'd be able to greet me by name.

The name thing goes for Nick too. He had mine down before I figured his out, but it's been a couple months since I've seen him.

I suppose there's something about being remembered by people I barely know that reaffirms that I'm seen even when it may not be my intention.

Now if I can just manage not to sound like an idiot, tomorrow will be a good day. Any tips to bring out my suave?

A year ago on TTaT: Don't get too excited


  1. I'm totally with you on the ambivalence of such situations. I always want to be anonymous, hate it when the folks at Starbucks know my order...and nevertheless feel a lot of fondness for them and gratitude for the mini conversations I've tried to weasel out of.

  2. Very well put. Ambivalence is dead on.

    As much as it's mostly beyond me to strike up conversations out of nowhere or to get people's impulse to do it, it's nice when pleasant/appealing folks take the initiative to do so.