When I was about 19 or so, I went to a seafood restaurant with my sister, her boyfriend and some of our mutual friends.
We were all having a really good time, but I was a bit distracted because the waitress looked really, really familiar. I was so sure I had known her from somewhere, but I couldn’t place where. I was fairly sure it wasn’t from school, but, like I said, I wasn’t sure.
I mentioned her to one of my friends and he said he recognized her, too, but he didn’t know from where. Then he suggested I ask her her name.
What? Whoa there. Moving just a little to fast. Asking her name actually required talking to her, and she was cute.
Back in the day, I was terrified of pretty women. Terrified. Admittedly, they still give me the stupid when I’m around them, but at least I can now hold a semi-intelligent conversation with them. At least I think I can. If I’m not, I’m good at fooling myself, and that’s what really matters.
Eventually, however, curiosity won over my fear when I ran into her on my way to the bathroom.
“Angela, right?” I asked. She had actually given her first name to the table when she took our order.
“Yeah.” She said.
“What’s your last name?” I asked.
“Why?” She said. Immediately, and I mean immediately, defensive.
“I think I might know you.”
“Because you look familiar. I’m not trying to pick you up. You just look familiar.” I said. I mean, what else could I have possibly responded with. That last ‘why?’ didn’t even make sense.
She just looked at me.
“Well, what school did you go to?” I asked, trying a different route.
Jesus. Was she for real?
“Fuck it.” I said. “Nevermind.” And I went to the bathroom.
I did what I did, washed my hands and exited the bathroom — where I damn near ran into her because she was right outside the door, obviously waiting for me.
“Stone.” She said.
“What?” I asked.
“Angela Johnson. I went to Thomas Stone.”
“Oh. I don’t care anymore.” I said. And I went back to the table.
On the way home after the meal, I told my friend what happened.
“You are such a dick,” he laughed.
“She probably thought you were trying to pick her up. That you were using a line.”
“Oh. So the ‘you look familiar’ and ‘I’m not trying to pick you up’ weren’t hints that I wasn’t trying to pick her up? They weren’t giveaways?”
“It doesn’t matter what you said. She probably gets picked up a lot. She probably thought you were picking her up — well, at least up until you said ‘fuck it’. Then she probably realized you weren’t picking her up.” My friend was laughing hard by the last line. He was having a good time.
“Whatever.” I said, still a little miffed.
“Look at it this way, you probably got more truthful info out of her than most guys going to that joint. Stud.” Laughing as he said it.
I laughed too. Sometimes, there’s not much else you can do.