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Connecting eyes : Unresponsive lips!

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Picture this scene with me.  It’s late at night. You are on your way back from a concert that was so utterly shocking in its magnificence that you are buzzing on a natural high. It’s the end of the night and though it’s late and cold, you are feeling like you could go for another 24 hours. Then you get to the station and find out you just missed your train. Not to bother. You’re still on that high. You settled in on the nearest seat or floor space you can find to replay portions of the night in your overly active mind. You’ve got 50 mins to spare so why not.

The train is finally here but by this point exhaustion has started creeping in. It is after all nearly midnight on a Sunday night and there’s work early the next morning. You board the train happy that you’ll be home before you know it. The train starts to move and you get comfortable for the relatively long journey.

That’s when you feel it. That sharp jolt that wakes you from your reverie that you are a member of the band playing to adoring fans of 20000 plus. And you know it straight away. Something is terribly wrong. There is an eerie silence as every passenger stares at each other as if expecting an explanation from the person next to them. The voice that disturbs the silence isn’t a comforting one. “Ladies and Gentlemen. I’m sorry but the next station is where this train will terminate. There is a broken down train ahead of us and due to the time of day there will be no other trains operating past this station.  I’m afraid there are no replacement buses available neither.”

The feeling of dread mixed with rage is unexplainable. You are stuck in an unfamiliar venue with no idea how to find your way home and no money left for a cab assuming you could find a cab station. What to do?

This is the exact dilemma I found myself in a few nights ago. I can’t fully find the words to explain how I felt. I was suddenly very aware of how tired I really was and the chill in the air that enveloped every passenger (now pedestrian) and elongated their already long faces was not a pleasant one. Every question asked of the train conductors were met with a very unhelpful “I don’t ma’am/sir”. On auto- pilot I turned immediately to my iPhone and got on the Internet to plot an alternative route.  None were ideal but beggars really can’t be choosers especially at that time of night. Finding that the only choice I had was to get 3 buses I used Google maps to locate the first bus stop to start my painful journey.

By the time I made my way to the stop there were several people congregated there. Looking across the road by chance I noticed a young man smoking and looking my way. I paid it no mind thinking only of getting home. The bus finally arrived after allowing the cold air to harshly impose under my clothing, through my flesh and settle on my bones.  Getting to the point of my first bus interchange, I looked up and noticed the same guy that was staring at me across the road was also there still looking at me. I still paid it no mind.

After all most people was in the same situation of trying to find their way home and that particular bus station was a central point for those looking to get a connecting bus elsewhere.

The bus finally arrives and I notice this guy boards the same bus and sits opposite me. He gets off at the same stop and crosses the road at the same junction. At this point (as we are the only two on a deserted side road rarely used) I begin to pay attention. He seems familiar but strange at the same time. I turn at a particular juncture and he does the same never overtaking me no matter how slow I walked and seemingly maintaining the same distance from me even when I sped up.

Home is now in sight. I start climbing the steps aware of this same dude when it hits me. I DO know this dude. It’s my next door neighbour. One of the only people who ever checks in on me when I accidentally set off the fire alarm whilst barbecuing something I shouldn’t be in my microwave.  I was distraught. He must think I’m so rude but by then it’s too late for pleasantries.

We’re now in the building and though I hold the door open I can’t bring myself to say anything to him. How do I when I had so purposely ignored him for the past hour?  If I spoke to him then wouldn’t he think I was ashamed to acknowledge him in public; in which case he could just as easily ignore me now in private? By the time I finished analysing the next course of action without resolution we were both at our front doors and the moment was truly past leaving me with a bigger dilemma and a nagging conscience.

See my issue is I’m not sure how to proceed now. The next morning I purposely waited till he’d left home and I was sure there was no chance of an encounter before leaving myself. Thing is I can’t live like this. So what do I do? Do I go knock and say how sorry I am that I didn’t recognise him the night before? Or do I pretend it never happened the next time I bump into him?  I need help on this. Isn’t there a published manual somewhere that talks about the proper conduct for situations like this? Surely it’s needed. Or am I the only silly person who ignores their neighbour till it’s too late to acknowledge them?  Oh the trauma!

One Comment »

  • tom said:

    thats some scary stuff

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