Somehow, despite my best attempts to not interact with anyone at my gym and spend my time lost in Toto’s obsession with a continent, an old guy has befriended me.
It happened swiftly, so I had no chance to act like I didn’t hear him.
New Friend: [Approaching me while I was getting ready to leave the gym] “You’re in here everyday huh?”
Me: [Stunned, I look around for something to bury my face in, but find nothing aside from my dirty boxer briefs] “Yeah, well, just Monday through Friday. I think five days is enough.”
New Friend: “That’s great, seeing the younger generation working out is really good. I’m John.”
Me: [Defeat sets in] “I’m Chris, nice to meet you. John is my middle name, actually.”
New Friend: [Excitedly] “Oh? My middle name is Chris!”
Me: [In my head: “Well life is just crazy!”] “Ha, that’s funny! See you around then.”
That’s how it all started.
And you know, whatever. It’s fine. He’s a nice guy. But the thing is I’ve never recognized him after that first meeting, and he always recognizes me, which leads to some awkwardness that I don’t feel like dealing with.
Every time he sees me he says “Hi Chris!” and I’m always surprised by it. So I immediately scramble to blurt out “John!” which I’m sure seems odd to him and those around us considering I’m not actually looking at anyone.
But since he always seems to remember me, I feel like I have to get his name out quickly, somehow fooling him into thinking I noticed him first.
When I don’t yell out “John,” and he completely catches me off guard, it’s like he’s my Dad and I’ve disappointed him by taking an ugly girl to the prom and then not even getting her to put out.
He says hello and then I say hello after stuttering and thinking “Where the hell did he come from? Did he just appear in front of me???” Then, while we exchange pleasantries, he frowns. It’s the frowning that really upsets me, because I don’t want to let John down dammit!
But I do.
Every single time.
I really don’t think he’s fooled by me yelling his name when my back is turned to him, so I’m going to have to come with a different approach.
Maybe next time I’ll simply look at him and say, “Alright, look John. I can’t remember what you look like. Maybe it’s because I’m busy trying to make my muscles look bigger than they are by shifting my poses in the mirror and maybe it’s because you look exactly like every other old white dude with his shorts on too high, but I just can’t. So let’s just cut it off or you’re going to have to start wearing a bright orange construction vest.”
I bet he opts for the vest. That’s so something John would do.