At work I bumped into an old friend of mine. We were formerly co-workers in the paint department at Sears in my early years of college. We would spend days, hours in the summertime waiting for someone to purchase something, anything from us. In between being bored we would paint the paint shakers, we would paint examples of faux finishes and we would talk about the most random of things. She even kindly laughed at my dumb jokes with a pained look in her eye, but laughed anyway out of politeness. We got to know each other well enough that we became roommates for a little over a year. We would host parties (well she would). We would do late night runs to Wal-mart together while we were stalked by “security” in the toy aisle. Eventually she would introduce me to many movies I needed to know, one of them being The Breakfast Club.
Judging from everything you have just read dear readers, you’ve probably come to understand Peggy’s face would be one that is hard to forget for this Quirky Girl. As we were talking in the aspirin aisle, I saw the same familiar smile, the same warm laughter and everything picked up as if we had stayed in touch. We talked for a bit about our adventures in education, but I had to get back to stocking the aisles and she had to get back to her new roommate and their shenanigans. She left smiling saying we will catch up again.
A few days later I was surprised to see her so soon. This time she had a new roommate; or girlfriend. At first I thought this was the news she wanted to catch up on. The store was getting full but Peggy hadn’t yet noticed me. My register was open and I was desperately trying to get her attention to save her time by ringing her out. I shouted, “I can help the next person here!” Hoping she and her new girlfriend would turn around. Nobody was taking my offer. So I saw her walking with this new girl toward the crowded front register, I said, “Peggy!?” Peggy and the woman turned around. Peggy had the same, friendly, pained expression on her face, just like we did when we lived together and I said something really ridiculous. She stood frozen, with one foot forward waiting for me to say something else. I reiterated I could get them at another register, and I said again, “Peggy?”
“Nooo…”, she said with an uncomfortable grin.
In my head I’m thinking someone kidnapped Peggy, there must have been an invasion of body snatchers that new her dialect, syntax and facial expressions. They even knew how she stood when she was surprised. Since this is not possible, I had to come to terms that this wasn’t Peggy.
Instead of another pleasant conversation with an old friend, this one quickly dissolved into awkward bumbling and me trying to explain to a couple that I mistook one of them for my college roommate.
Peggy, if you’ve just read this, I hope you’re laughing.
When have you mistaken someone for an old friend? How did it play out? Did they understand or think you were weird?