20 November 2010

On a moment past

Due to a washing machine issue, I found myself at the laundromat for the first time yesterday. Special experience, I know. After starting my loads of lights and darks, I situated myself in a chair which allowed me to keep an eye on the machines and the door simultaneously (a very important thing when I'm in a new place - especially one so foreign and mysterious). I pulled out my book, started my music, and that is when she entered.

At first, I knew only that I recognized her, but after stealing several glances, I figured out who she was. She was a member of my high school graduating class. Appearance wise, Stephanie (for that is her name) hadn't changed much. But then, she could probably have said the same thing about me. It's good to know that someone else hadn't changed her hairstyle for six years either. She also wore a baggy sweatshirt and jeans - an outfit common to any high school. These factors gave me a sense of relative certainty regarding her identity. Throughout high school we had been friendly, but not particularly close. Our school was fairly small, and because we had several friends in common, we ate at the same lunch table most of the time. But I don't have any specific memories of her. After figuring out who she was, I considered saying hello.

I came up with a fairly decent plan. I would say her name with a tinge of hesitancy, mention our common place of education and drop my name (just in case she didn't remember me, although I suspected she did), and then I would ask her how she was. Her reply would dictate how long our conversation would last, and I had the easy out of "needing to check my laundry" if I wanted an escape. I was ready to tell her about the miniature deluge that had happened the day before and the consequent need for visiting the local Suds 'n Duds.

All I needed to do was find the right timing. But she had come with someone else, so I didn't want to interrupt their conversation. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would just be incredibly awkward. I began to dread that potential uneasiness. Pretty soon, I was folding my clothes and they were heading out (all their shirts would be wrinkled by the time they got home tsk tsk tsk).

I was left to my thoughts. Where's my sense of community? Why didn't we say hello? What did she think when she saw me? And where did that other black sock go? I decided my actions (or rather my lack thereof) were pathetic, but typical. I often find myself waiting for that perfect moment and miss my chance completely. We had spent over an hour in the same space, but hadn't exchanged a single word. We could have had a nice conversation. We could have shared our lives for a moment. I might have found a new person to attend concerts with (I seem to be lacking in that department). Instead, however, I did nothing, and am left with just my thoughts and this blog post.

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