I’m a pretty social guy. I’d like to think I have quite a few friends, and I feel like people generally like me. With that being said, I don’t like chit-chatting with people. I feel like if I’m talking to someone that I am close to then I’m not chit-chatting; I’m having a normal conversation. Like, I generally want to know how those people are doing and what’s up in their life. With that being said, I’ll go to great lengths not to have to talk to acquaintances. There is a reason we’re acquaintances. We should just say our one word pleasantries and call it a day. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I have trouble maintaining conversations – even with friends. When I was on campus in college, I’d walk the same way to class everyday and quickly learned that I saw the same guy I went to high school with everyday. I promptly changed that route. It was worth it even though it took me by the people with pamphlets, pro-choicers, pro-lifers, keen on Jesus-ites, and the credit card peddlers. It was completely worth it to not have to make chit-chat with this guy. I'd even walk through an aggressive group of Scientologists!
*Note: At the University of Texas, there is a Scientology building slightly off campus, and under said building, there was a Chinese food buffet place. Believe you me, I had to make that daring run many times!
Here is the point of that set-up; there is a guy at work who is an acquaintance who makes small talk with me every day. Every… single… day. To make it worse, I borderline don’t like him. He’s not a bad guy or anything; I just don’t like his personality. Does that ever happen to you? Someone isn’t a bad person but you find yourself not liking them for small yet legit reasons. The main reason for not liking this guy is he thinks he’s funny – that doesn’t mesh with MY “I think I’m funny personality.” Don’t get me wrong, I like funny people but he’s the antithesis of my brand of humor. Well, I don’t know what my style really entails, but his is Blue-Collar-Comedy-Tour-esque. In fact, at lunch the other day, I heard him tell a Ron White joke and play it off as if it were his own. Everyone laughed, and I wanted to slap his wrist and say, “Hey, I heard that crappy joke on Comedy Central last night too. Don’t pass it off as your own. No! Bad colleague! Bad colleague!” This was a growing concern to say the least -- people laughing at this charlatan. Here is a representation of it:
Moving on, when I walk in to the building in the morning, I walk down a pretty lengthy hallway, and every day, I see him standing in the middle of it off to the side. I shutter every single time. He's like an ogre guarding a bridge, and he's about to eat my bones. I tell myself to look down and weave between the students, but I know I’m going to have to talk to him. Here are some snippets of our conversations:
Him: “Hey, how’s the baseball team going?”
Me: “I don’t coach baseball.”
Him: “Hey, Bill, do we have a meeting after school today?”
Me: “My name isn’t Bill.”
Him: “You’re a math teacher, right? I have a question for you.”
Me: “I don’t teach math.”
This is painful for me because not only do I have to talk to him, but he obviously doesn’t really know who I am. I’m just the guy with the gut who’s his chatting buddy. By the way, I forgot to mention that he’s also unaware of social cues. I am the master if inching away when I talk to someone. With every second of unwanted conversation I have to endure, I physically slip an inch away. Now that I think about it, I've never seen anyone else do this. Maybe It's just me and my social awkwardness.
For the past year, I have been walking around the outside of the school so I can avoid him. I’ve found it works quite well. I can enjoy the weather for a little longer everyday and not get my figurative bones eaten! Sure, sometimes it’s a little rainy outside, but I’m only SLIGHTLY uncomfortable then. I feel like I have a nice solution to this problem. Checkmate, acquaintance.