I walked into the Department of Public Works this afternoon, and was immediately confronted by an employee. Big, burly, suntanned. He was wearing a sleeveless, fluorescent t-shirt the way street crews do, as to not get hit by oncoming traffic. Tattoos on his arms, a bald head.
"Krista," he says.
Whimper. I do not know this man. Perhaps he just walked off a construction site. Or out of a motorcycle bar. Not sure. I reluctantly lift my head in acknowledgment.
"So how come you didn't include my name in the picture you took of me for Monday's newspaper?"
Thankfully, he chuckled. It was almost as if he'd known me for years. He was joking, I believe. (Hope?)
In my head I'm going over every picture I took over the weekend. Big, bald men? Big, bald men? Uh. When did I take a picture of big, bald men? And then I remembered. It was a photo I snapped at the city's recycling center. But why is this man talking to me like we're old friends?
"I, uh. I, ha, ha," I stammered, still clueless as to this man's identity.
"That was YOU?" I finally succumbed. "Oh, ha. Ha, ha. Sorry!"
I didn't know what I was talking about. I just figured if I pretended to know what he was talking about, he'd stop making this the most AWKWARD MOMENT OF MY LIFE.
Thankfully, I was saved by the bell. Or, not so much the bell as the parks director, who I had been waiting for. When we were out of sight of the unknown man in fluorescent orange, I asked someone else who he was.
And about died.
I went to middle school with the big, bald man. And high school. We graduated together. Shared classes. Really? That's him? Because he was not big and bald 10 years ago. Or covered in tattoos.
I suddenly felt three things. Firstly, foolish. I probably looked like a jerk. Secondly, old. Has it been THAT long? Good grief. And lastly, SO THANKFUL I didn't get big, burly and bald since high school.