So, when I was in my last years of university, i lived at home with my parents and so was able to walk to and from the university every day (or more likely every class, lunch at home was sooo much better than at school!). In one of my philosophy classes, there was a boy with Buddy Holly horned rimmed glasses who sat close to me in class and walked home the exact same way as me after class. He was always just a little ahead of me walking across the green, but i always met him at the traffic light while we waited to cross the street.
Now, at the traffic light, there were three different ways you could choose to walk home and end up in the exact same spot. 1. You could go straight ahead and then turn right and cut through a parking lot and alot of side streets. 2. You could turn right and then turn left down a catwalk beside the veterinary fraternity, or 3. You could turn right and walk to the corner and then turn left down the next street (boring!)
So, I always chose option 2 and boy with glasses always chose option 1. eventually there was also an indian girl who was also in our class who always chose option 3. So we all walked home, together but seperate, every time we had class, so at least twice a week, for an entire semester. We never said a word to each other.
After the first few weeks i started to think it was kind of funny, because glasses guy was always a bit ahead of me, almost like he was running away. (i'm really not that scary!) The indian girl only ever caught up with us sometimes, i think she usually stayed to study, so she really doesn't feature in this story. So, I used the opportunity to test a theory that i had wondered about ever since i was little, which way was the shortcut?!! Nothing like using unwitting people for distance experiments! So I started to match my pace to his as we kicked off from the curb at the traffic light and then maintained that pace as i followed my route. I met him at the bottom of the hill where our routes crossed again. We acknowledged this meeting with a smile, but hurried on our separate ways. This went on for a few more weeks, and the then the indian girl started off from the traffic light with us as well for a couple of days, and i met her where our routes crossed.
Conclusion: No Shortcut.
But, by this time half the semester had gone by, i couldn't switch my route to his cause i might be following him, i couldn't switch my route to hers cause, well, it was boring. We were set in our ways, and still had never said anything to each other. I didn't want him for a boyfriend or anything, it was just getting ridiculous that we basically walked home together every day and didn't talk to each other. I am a great fan of the group gab on the way home from school, but somehow was never able to say hello to him. We had just let it go too long.
Then, one day in class, i ended up sitting in the same row as him, three chairs between us, but no people, and the prof asked for an example of something. glasses guy answered him with "Its like if you see the same person every day and never say anything to them, even though they might turn out to be a really cool person, or a friend." He quickly glanced over at me out of the corner of his eye. I went bright red, i had trouble breathing, what he said wasn't even an example of the concept being discussed, he just obviously needed to get it out there. I wanted to appologize to him and tell him that i had wanted to talk to him the entire semester but was too shy. I also wanted to point out how he was wrong, but i realized that would be a bad thing and not worth mentioning. After class he almost bolted out the door so that we didn't meet at the traffic light.
The next class, he brought his girlfriend.
When I think about it now, maybe he thought I was a snob and wanted to prove that he was cool and worthy of being spoken to. At the time, i took it as "you had your chance, that's it". There were only one or two classes after that, and our walks home were very awkward, his girlfriend met him after class, and then i REALLY couldn't talk to him.
But you know what? He never said a word to me either.
So my plan since then has been to at least smile and say hello to everyone I recognize. It is hard sometimes to get up to courage to say anything more, but next time i see them, it might be a little bit easier. And if I don't see you, sorry, sometimes I am off in lah-lah land, just yell my name really loud and come running like the Queen of West Procrastination does!
Oh, and note to self, don't do experiments with real people in the real world. (Aw, c'mon, its fun!)