I just returned from grabbing a bite to eat. While I was there I ran into Ralph, from the local hardware store. He’s an older guy (I say “older” because I don’t know how old he is…but I know he was in the service in WWII) who’s really cool and funny and I enjoy talking with him. We talked mostly about old films and other light fare but soon our conversation took a turn down Serious Lane and he began telling me the story of his best friend passing away.
It was during this vulnerable time we were approached by a guy who I went to high school with. He was creepy back then and is really creepy now (perhaps it was his attempt to convert me to Communism a few years ago that turned me off to him. Or maybe the time he threatened my grandmother and my aunt. The point is, he’s creepy). He approached our table and then just stood there as poor Ralph told me about the late-night call he received from his buddy’s wife.
Bear in mind, I’ve been back in Indiana for just about a year now, and have seen this guy on a number of occasions. I looked up at him standing there watching us and suddenly found myself in this conversation:
CHUCK: I wondered if that was you.
ME: It’s me.
CHUCK: You probably don’t even remember who I am.
ME: Sure I do, Chuck.
CHUCK: You look bigger. Have you grown?
ME: Not really.
CHUCK: Stand up.
I share a perplexed look with Ralph and then scoot my chair back and stand up.
ME: 5’11. Just like I’ve been for a while.
CHUCK: No. I think you’ve grown since high school.
I sit back down.
Awkward pause. Then,
ME: Must be all the steroids.
I smile. Ralph laughs. Chuck does not.
CHUCK: Do you take steroids?
ME: No, Chuck. I was just making a joke.
CHUCK: I took steroids in high school.
I remember that Chuck has always been scrawnier than even I.
CHUCK: Yea. Did you?
ME: No, I can’t say that I did.
CHUCK: You can’t really tell, but I did.
Awkward pause followed by
Really awkward pause.
CHUCK: I took (Chuck names off several medical terms that I assume are steroids, but that I cannot remember now).
ME: Oh….yeah…..um….no, I never did that.
Chuck stands and looks at me and Ralph long enough to create another awkward pause and then just walks away.
I tell ya, as much as I am looking forward to Pennsylvania next month, it’s gonna be hard to top awkwardness like that.