When I moved to Leeds in May 2000, I made a friend through work. Actually, I made a number of friends through work – I made more friends in that the six months in that job than I did in the rest of my (five and a half) years at the university combined – but for the sake of this post, I’m thinking about one person in particular.
We weren’t bestest-best buds or anything but we had a laugh together. He used to hang out in my office quite a bit during the day, we’d sometimes have lunch together in the department’s senior common room and we went to the pub together from time to time on various department-related outings or celebrations. After I left, we continued to meet up every couple of months at pubs or department parties and the like until, eventually, other stuff got in the way and we drifted apart.
About three years later, I was walking through the university at the end of the day, heading the back way into town to avoid the crowds, when I saw someone that looked like this person coming the other way up the cliff of steps. Given a few years had passed and the turnover of people through the uni is so vast, I wasn’t sure if it was him so didn’t say anything to be on the safe side. Then I saw him again on another two occasions in quick succession – same place, same time – and I realised it definitely was my old friend — but by then I thought it would be weird to say hello or acknowledge him because I’d essentially just ignored him the first two times. Of course, since we then passed each other just about every night for months, it was as equally awkward continuing to not acknowledge each other.
A few months later, last year some time after I had quit the uni, I saw him with a group of people, enjoying the fine ales of the Scabby Taps pub. Then I saw him there a second time – but of course I couldn’t say anything because of the year of deliberately but supposedly absently looking the other way. Then when the magnificent popular sci-fi folk music combo Gillroyd Parade played at the Beers, Bangers & Blues festival at the West Riding pub in Dewsbury this June, he was there too (which feels like the strangest of these little meets because …Dewsbury?). And I can’t remember now because all these pub events are a bit mixed up in my head but I think I’ve seen him in the Scabby again this year.
Anyway, I mention this now because I saw him in the Victoria pub last night. I had clocked him early in the evening but after last orders, our toilet trips coincided – he left the gents just as I ducked into the ladies – and I couldn’t help but smirk because it just seems ridiculous that we keep kinda bumping in to each other but I’m (and possibly he’s) too socially broken to acknowledge it.
I do want to say hello and “heh, this is weird isn’t it?” to him but I’m too shy/broken to do it. There is, of course, the distinct possibility that he doesn’t remember me in the slightest but given we tend to hang out in the same spots these days and we made each other laugh back then, it seems (to me at least) that we could be friends again now – at least at the “hi, alright? bye” level of pub acquaintances.
I realise it’s INCREDIBLY unlikely that said person is reading this but that person, if you are, do come and say hello sometime. I’ll be the socially crap one hiding in the corner. :)