That Weird Feeling…

Let me start off by saying I am not friendly.  I am nice, I’m pleasant, I’m cordial, I’m polite, but I am not, in any way, friendly.  Small talk makes me uncomfortable, I don’t remember personal details, and I’d much rather just keep to myself all of the time.  I’m shy, I’m quiet, and I’m not a huge fan of people, in general.  I’m not mean or rude, but if I had a choice between saying hi to someone I don’t know just for the sake of being friendly and walking on the other side of the street with my head down, I’d pick the latter.

Anyway…

There’s this guy who stands outside of a building near where I park.  He works in the building, or volunteers, or something.  Something that requires he be there every single work day.  So he stands there, waiting for the doors to the building to open.  Nothing wrong with that; he’s got to get in and the doors aren’t open yet, so he stands on the sidewalk and waits.

Except…

And this ‘except’ is all on me.  I get that and accept it and hold no illusions otherwise.

Except…he kind of really creeps me out.  Every morning I park where I park because the spots are wider and I have an SUV.  None of the other lots have these wide spots because they used to belong to emergency vehicles, back when the building was something else altogether.  And every morning, I get out of my car and walk past this building where the man is standing, innocently, waiting for the doors to open so he can start work, he says hi.  Now normally (and by ‘normally’, I mean to normal, socially functional people) a person saying hi in the morning is a pleasant sort of thing.  And I get that.  Remember?  This is all on me.  To me, a person saying hi in the morning, is a pleasant sort of thing, but this man gives me this feeling.  This weird, oogly feeling that maybe one day I’ll come out of work and he’ll be standing by my car with a bottle of champagne and some chloroform. 

AND LET ME BE VERY, VERY CLEAR TO YOU – HE HAS DONE NOTHING TO MAKE ME THINK THIS.  He hasn’t asked me out or followed me into work or even looked me up and down.  He’s a seemingly normal person, as far as I can rationally tell.  It’s just the creeped out feeling I get, based on my own overly-active, gruesome imagination.  This is me, not him.  Have I made myself clear?

He says hi every morning in a friendly, non-psycho stalker sort of way, and that makes me think I’ll be the victim of a kidnapping and possibly worse.  This has to be some sort symptom of megalomania or extreme narcissism or something wherein I believe just because he goes out of his way to be friendly to me, he must want me dead.

If I walk on the other side of the road, he’ll call over traffic.

He doesn’t say hi to anyone else who passes by.

One day, he came over to me at my car to tell me that I have a doppelgänger in town and her name is … something.  I forget.  I should have remembered so I could Google missing persons.

He shook my hand that day.  WHO SHAKES STRANGERS HANDS ANYMORE?!?  I do, apparently, when I’m afraid I’ll be dragged into a field and locked in a bunker.

I park in a different lot in the mornings now.  He seems to only be at the other lot in the mornings, so I park elsewhere.  Yesterday I went back to my old lot after I returned for lunch.  I hadn’t seen him in the afternoons, so I thought I was safe.  Except yesterday, after I’d parked and crossed the street, I heard a “HI!” and I looked over and there he was, waving and being a very friendly, very enthusiastic man, just saying hi to a stranger.  And yet, I still get this weird feeling. 

I no longer wear my name tag, against policy, just in case.

I’ll be parking in the secondary lot from now on, morning or night.  I admit and completely own that this is me being overly paranoid and probably mostly insane (he’s saying hi, for God’s sake; isn’t this the sort of thing that we all say makes the world a better place?), but I’d rather find a new parking lot than start the morning feeling weird.

I really do feel like a wretched tool for feeling this way.  I’ve just seen far too many movies and television shows that start out with a seemingly harmless stranger just saying hi.

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18 thoughts on “That Weird Feeling…

  1. I’d like to tell you to stop worrying and that it’s just paranoia, but I’m similarly inclined to be suspicious. I blame my NJ upbringing, which taught me that eye contact was an overt form of hostility and that you don’t “just say hi” to someone you don’t know.

    But it’s probably just someone being nice. Right? Ugh.

  2. I don’t think you’re paranoid or insane – you have excellent intuition! Do what feels right – and I think telling you that you have a Doppelgänger is more than creepy.

  3. I’ll agree with the first comment here. I’ve said hi to strangers before, but that was mistaken identity and it didn’t happen again. Saying hi to one person, and one person only, that you don’t know repeatedly is…odd. Better safe than sorry.

  4. i’M on this while kick right now of being nice and assuming everyone means to be nice back. It helps, as do the pills.

    Seriously, your reaction is pretty “normal”. You’re being overly cautious and that’s always a good thing.

  5. No, I don’t think that you are overreacting. Singling you out like so, seeking you out for conversation when no encouragement has been given, those are sending up some pretty big red flags. If you walk by and he says ‘hi’, okay, not as ooky but yelling across the road? Whole nother story. Your intuition is your friend in this case.

    • We live in a different time and thanks to Dexter and Law & Order and CSI and endless movies, nervous, cautious people like me get scared by harmless, friendly strangers.

  6. The guy’s just trying to be nice, jeeze! Where I work there’s this lady who comes in while I’m entering the building and I say hi to her every day. Usually she says hi back but sometimes she seems to avoid me. I don’t know why. I didn’t see her for awhile but one afternoon, there she was, so I said “Hi” again. She must’ve left, though, because I never see her anymore. I was just being polite.

    Anyway, where was I?

    • OOOOOR…there’s this lady who walks on the street where your building is, so you obsessively say hi to her. You stop conversations you’re having with other people so that you can yell hi. You stop her at her car so you can talk to her more, even though she’s obviously in a hurry. You make her uncomfortable by doing so you can see that in how she looks down when she passes or when she crosses the road right before she gets to where you are – but you don’t care or you’re oblivious because you’ll just yell hi LOUDER! Sure, you’re just trying to be friendly, you mean no harm, but your friendly, harmless sights are set ONLY on that one woman. No one else. Not creepy at all! Totally normal!

      Sorry…got lost there for a minute.

  7. Yeah, that sets of my Creepometer. I wanted to say someting encouraging, like maybe he’s noticed that you’re uncomfortable, which is making him try even HARDER in order to make you see he’s just being friendly, unaware that the more effort he puts into it the more uncomfortable you become. But no… I think he’s just creepy, plain and simple. Maybe not Van With Blacked-Out Windows creepy, but creepy enough to use a different parking lot, for sure.

  8. I’m a freak magnet. From watching horror flicks as a teen I learned 2 things:
    1. the nice girl dies last (if she does get killed at all)
    2. the slutty ones go first (under the evil knife, saw, hammer…)

    So, when a freak is drawn by my magnet, I’m totally nice and keep my boobs safely tucked inside my bra – at ALL times! 😉

  9. “I’m shy, I’m quiet, and I’m not a huge fan of people, in general.” Are you me?

    Sometimes I appear rude because I’m so involved in my own internal world I don’t actually notice when people are saying hi to me. I’ve made many a bad first impression that way.

    I would (and do) think this is weird. I think what’s so weird about it is if he’s so keen to shout hello to you over traffic, why doesn’t he just introduce himself? You’d probably feel a lot less weird about him if you knew his name was Bruce and he worked in accounting just up the road. It’s that he’s such an unknown quantity (and appears happy to stay that way), which makes him continue to seem so creepy.

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