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.
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.
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.