Sunday, November 23, 2008

Note on the Windshield

Going to they Littleton Family YMCA every day, I'm meeting some of the folks there. I'm not making any long term friends or anything (not that I'm avoiding it, I'm just focused on working out, like most everybody else at the facility).

Upon getting up to leave, I noticed a note on the car, which another guy had left. He mentioned his name and asked, "Do you remember me? We spoke in the whirlpool last week?" I instantly connected his Hispanic name to a guy I'd briefly chatted with in the whirlpool last week. He and I smiled and nodded at each other, exchanging brief pleasantries and introductions and making small talk for a bit about the Broncos and our jobs or whatnot while we both unwinded from a workout.

Like most people in that situation, I thought nothing of it. He or I got up and left and we both carried on with our lives. Then I recieve this note on the windshield, of a guy asking to be my friend and hang out together. He'd left a phone number and an email address.

I decided not to pursue the offer of friendship for a number of reasons. He knew my vehicle, so had seen me int the parking lot: naturally my first inclination was to wonder if he was stalking me. He's also obviously lacking in social skills. How concerned should I be? This peculiar offer from a awkward guy I'd met in the men's restroom at the YMCA?

Plus, I'd be leaving for South Korea in the coming weeks, what sort of friendship could I possibly offer? Go get beers or once or twice and then say, "So long"? I threw the note away a few days ago and didn't think much of it.

Lately I've been wondering though: What if? I've always been socially awkward at times. At this junction in my life, I'm not exactly Mr. Sociable myself, with a big network of friends in the area I can lean on and tap into. Social encounters have twisted me up into dense, . Had my life taken a few slightly less fortunate twists and turns, might I be as shy and timid as he was? How easily could that have been me in a different life?

But I've been thinking lately. Perhaps he isn't some deranged psycho. Maybe he's just a lonely guy who needs a friend. How many alienated folks exist out there, deprived of the basic human need for companionship and association? Perhaps he's just like me.

Littleton Family YMCA

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