Tuesday, December 08, 2009

There are Two Kinds of People in the World

One night last week, JB and I went to Barnes&Noble after dinner. I had a B&N gift card burning a hole in my purse, and he's always up for a trip to the bookstore.

We walked inside and immediately - and simultaneously - detoured to the right instead of making a beeline for the front display tables as usual. This is not because we wanted coffee or magazines (enough of those at home, thanks). No, it's because we spotted an Annoying Person From The Past.

We both knew this particular APFTP from college and had no desire to speak to said person. We loitered in the nearby map aisle, hoping APFTP would go away. No luck. And of course APFTP was in the Fic & Lit section - precisely where I wanted to be. Plus, APFTP was blocking JB's route to the sci-fi/fantasy section so he was none too happy either.

I know. We could have just sucked it up and said hi. Reminisced about old times for a few minutes and then parted ways.

But there are two kinds of people in the world: Avoiders and Greeters. We are the former. I like to think of myself as a friendly person, but honestly, if I see someone I kind-of-know - OK, anyone who isn't a good friend or blood relative - out in public, I'm going to pretend I didn't see them and move on quickly. Maybe it's the interovert in me. But even if you're an avowed member of the Greeter camp, you've got to admit that you've done it too, at one time or other.

What if APFTP wasn't planning to leave soon? We'd eventually wind down our chat awkwardly, "well, uh, i guess I'll see you...um...later?..." and then head off to neighboring aisles where we (or at least I) would pretend we didn't see each other. Then we'd keep accidentally bumping into each other the rest of the time in the bookstore, and I'd feel obligated to either say something or to listen to APFTP describe some boring incident from his/her life and smile politely and...the whole bookstore trip would be ruined!

This is selfish, I know. And immature. But I'm all about honesty here and, well, that's just me. There are times I resist the urge to avoid, but in this particular case, I loathed the thought of striking up what I knew would be a long and boring conversation.

After a few more minutes, JB and I realized APFTP wasn't leaving, so we...left. Yes, friends, we are Master Avoiders. We headed to Target in the same shopping center, killed some time in there (who doesn't love killing time in Target) and then went back to B&N, so dedicated were we to having our book-browsing time.

APFTP was still there. With a coffee. Seated in a squishy chair, reading, with all appearances of not planning to move for a very long time. Hmpf.

So we skulked around the bookstore until we'd found books we wanted. We scooted to the checkout and got the heck out of there, back to the hermit-like safety of our home. We'd live to avoid people another day.

...

On another note, I have a ton of blog catchup reading to do. The entire publishing industry could have crashed in the past couple of weeks and I wouldn't know it. If you've had majorly aweseome happenings in your life, congratulations! I will read about them, er, very soon.

11 comments:

Vivienne said...

I have been in the same position and I did the same. Sometimes there are just some people you don't want to talk to.

Tere Kirkland said...

LOL, I am a major avoider. I would have done the exact same thing. ;)

Melissa said...

When it comes to APFTP I'm a classic avoider. It's only been two years since high school but I really have no intrest in making small talk.

jmberrygirl said...

I know what you mean! I'm not at all shy or introverted normally, but there are some situations that leave me wishing for my bed, the covers over my head and the lights out. People, stay away! It's like there's a daily quota and once it's met, you just gotta call it a day and head home. Some people rack up more points that others, like your APFTP.

Dominique said...

I do the exact same thing. Major Avoider. Less than a week ago, at a train station, I saw an APFTP. Of all the gin joints, right? Fives hours sitting within fifteen feet of each other on the train, at least three times of being within 12 inches, we exchanged three words, "Oh, excuse me."

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

With my luck the annoying person would have followed me to Target.

Cammie said...

Hilarious! Hmm, upon careful reflection, I think I'm generally an Avoider too. That is, unless I'm in a particularly ornery mood, at which time, if I see another Avoider, I may go out of my way to Greet them just to watch them squirm. (I swear, I'm not THAT mean ... I can only think of a time or two when I've done this ...)

Irene Latham said...

Major Avoiders Unite! Not that that's even possible, but so nice to know we're not alone in these avoidance tendencies. xxoo

writtenwyrdd said...

I'm with you on the avoidance issue, if I'm in that sort of mood. But for the two people I truly loathe (believe me, they earned it) I look 'em dead in the eye and then act like they are invisible, even if they greet me. Nasty? Indeed. It makes me happy. They really *really* earned my dislike with bad behavior.

Anyone else, I'll greet them or schmooze if we make eye contact. Most of the time I can get out of it fast enough.

Lauren said...

I am usually not an avoid-er, but I have had my bee line in another direction moments. I love your acronym APFTP. So perfect :)

Anonymous said...

Nice post & nice blog. I love both.