Guess who I saw at work the other day?
He's in a band and is friends with Zeter Febbs. However, his name does not rhyme with Mandrew. That should narrow the search down for you.
I never knew this kid. At all. In our six years of high school together, I don't think we even exchanged one word. Maybe our eyes flickered over one another at some point. Maybe he glanced at me that time I farted during silent reading in year eight (yes, I admit it now. Squeaky chairs don't sound like that).
It was Thursday night. I didn't even realize it was him. He came up to my register and was buying some furniture (two office chairs and a desk). I looked up from whatever receipt I was stuffing into the drawer.
"Oh!" I exclaimed, all exclamatory like. "Hey! How are you?"
"Hey!" he said. His voice was cheery. He always was a ridiculously nice guy. And I say that with the authority of someone who has never carried a conversation with him. He has the smile of a nice guy.
"How are you?" I asked, disgustingly big smile on my disgustingly big face.
"Yeah, good. How about you?"
"Good! Oh, let me just scan up your furniture."
I went over to scan his two office chairs and desk. I returned, he paid on Eftpos. We exchanged a few more pleasantries.
"So, how long have you been working here?" he asked. We still hadn't acknowledged each other by name at this stage, a reminder of the fact that we never had a conversation in our entire lives even though we were essentially in the same class for the whole of high school.
"Just over a year!" I said. The exclamation mark is necessary. Maybe it's because I was at work, a place where I am forced to (pretend to be) happy and act as if I care how people are when I ask them. Or maybe it's because I was genuinely delighted to be graced with his presence (he is a nice guy).
"What've you been up to?" I asked, ignoring the people in the queue, probably cursing this young lad taking up the precious time of their check out bitch.
"Oh, not much," he said. "I just got accepted into WAAPA."
"That's fantastic!" I said, perhaps with a little too much vigour. "Congratulations!"
"Oh, thank you!" Exclamation marks all around.
"Well, I better serve the rest of these folks." Why did I just use the word folks? Why?
"Yeah, it was good to see you," he said.
Smiles, smiles, goodbye, goodbye.
I draw several points from this interaction for yours and my scrutiny.
Firstly, how are we at the age at which we actually buy real furniture with our own pennies? I am still in awe over the fact that I have a debit card and am in relative control of my finances. Pay Wave is still revolutionary to me and I feel so incredibly mature and sophisticated every time I use it. But my Pay Wave use is completely surpassed by the purchase of real furniture. And not just one piece but several.
Secondly, I believe I was well and truly actually delighted with the presence of this old acquaintance from high school. I was well and truly delighted that he had just gone into WAAPA because that really is fantastic and he deserves all of his success. 1.5 years ago, I think I would have avoided eye contact and pretended I didn't recognize him.
As you may remember, I embarked on something called Friendquest 2013 approximately 12 months ago. In those 12 months, I have made several friendly acquaintances, a few friends and a couple of good friends. I am still hopelessly awkward and there are many times during the day when I find myself questioning how I even function in everyday life. But I am coming to terms with the fact that I'm a decent person with things to offer.
At work, I am more comfortable than ever. The new summer casuals think I'm funny and I consider the people who have been there longer to be real friends.
I start uni tomorrow. And I am hopelessly afraid. There is a shittonne of dread and fear in my heart and head but there's also a flicker of anticipation. There's a mite of a possibility that I might enjoy prac work more than theory work. With every day that passes and every experience I have, whether good, bad or downright horrific, I am closer to the person I want to be.
So, there's that. Wish me luck.