The other night I said “hi” to someone I didn’t even know.
I wasn’t being overly polite or anything, I didn’t know them from Adam (or Eve, technically, as it was a girl) but I thought she said “hello” to me, and because of that I assumed that maybe she was someone who lived on our street who I didn’t recognise, or someone I had known from work, or something like that.
It was none of that.
She was talking on her phone, hands free.
There’s no coming back from that, really.
It’s not like when you run for a bus and miss it and you can pretend that you were running past the bus stop, or stop as if you’ve got a stitch or whatever else you do. I don’t know because it’s only on a very, very rare occasion that I will run for public transport. Generally I find that I’m not that bothered to get where I’m going that I need to run for it. In fact, I’ve said that if anyone ever catches me running for the train home, like one of the seething mass of people you see in Leeds station, that they’re to take me to one side and slap me hard.
Or when you fall asleep on public transport and your head lolls forward, jolting you awake, and to cover up the fact that you’ve just done that you pretend that your neck has a crick in it and you’re stretching it like Danny Glover in a Lethal Weapon film. Obviously this technique doesn’t work if, as you jolt awake, you have thrown a hardback book across the train aisle, but you can still give it a go.
You can even pull it back if you’ve accidentally waved at someone who you didn’t know. You can pretend you were stretching, or reaching to scratch an itch or whatever. Something convincingly limb-related and you’ve got away with that. Maybe waving away a wasp. There possibilities are endless.
But actually speaking to someone… there’s not really any way you can palm that off as never having happened. You’ve basically just talked to someone who said hi, but wasn’t actually talking to you they were just chatting on the phone. All you can do is ignore the funny look the give you and walk past them incredibly fast while trying not to a) die of shame or b) laugh at yourself too much.
I suppose you could always pretend to be on a phone call of your own…
I’ve just thought of that now.