30 Seconds of Awkward

Our 30 seconds begins innocently enough: waiting for an elevator at the Fallsview Casino to return me to my car. I stand aloof with a lighter wallet and a humbling Blackjack experience to pass the time.  Little did I know the short moment of social ineptitude that awaited.

:00 – The elevator door opens, and I step inside.

:01 – :02 – I walk to the far side of the elevator and lean against the wall.

:04 – I survey the caged humanity in front of me.

:05 – I see a man directly across from my corner.  Brain synapses explode in a flurry of memory.  Time stands still.

I KNOW this guy!  I used to work with him!  It was, like, 15 years ago, but I KNOW him!

:05.1 – I decide to be forward.  The awkward sequence of events begins with unstoppable inertia.

:06 – I step forward. “Hey!”  I exclaim!

:07 – The man in front of me looks up, slightly startled, a puzzled yet cheerful searching look on his face.

:08 – The impending awkwardness lurches forward as I extended my hand. “How are you?

handshake

:09 – The stranger extends a tentative hand forward, gripping my hand firmly and returning my intrusive greeting.

(At this moment, my brain does something it RARELY does…I actually remember the person’s name!  This concept is extremely foreign to me, so I hedge my bets and decide to go first.)

:10 – “I’m Chris!  From NuComm!  We worked together like, 15 years ago!”

:11 – Silence.  A searching stare from the stranger whose hand I still have trapped within my eager grasp.

:12 – The man speaks…

I’m sorry?”

:13 – The first hint of doubt tinges in the back of my neck.  My greeting fingers flinch. I reach for my ace in the hole…

:14 – “You’re Glen, right?”  The question hangs like a dropped glass, falling in slow motion to the floor below…

:15 – …………

:16 – The man pulls his hand away gingerly, but with purpose…

:17 – “Nope, sorry.

:18 – …………

:19 – …………

:20 – I am instantly aware of A) the other four people in the elevator (B) the shrinking cage-like feeling of the inescapable box closing in on me (C) the fact I am now one of those people who thought they saw someone they knew and made a BIG deal out of it instead of just standing there thinking “I KNOW him, don’t I?

:21-:23 – I manage a smile…”You look JUST like a guy I worked with.

:23 – The man returns a friendly smirk, politely reveling in my fog of awkwardness, and finishes the conversation:

:24 – “Must be a good looking guy.

:25 – :30 – The elevator stops, and the door opens, releasing the fog.  I hurriedly step out alone as the doors close behind me.  I manage a smirk and a head shake.  Another gamble lost at the Casino.  At least he won a story.

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