You see, I’m assuming I was blessed with a completely generic face. With no discernible features and a welcoming “I’m friendly” look about me. And it probably doesn’t help that since I was 10 I’ve had every kind of haircut and/or colour combination imaginable. So I probably remind every one of someone.
Being approached randomly is not even limited to strangers with bikes, who cross the road and make a bee-line for me. and try to tell me in no-uncertain terms that they’re sure they know me. Remember I met you at….? No dude, back off. So here are some of the most uncomfortable of my “Excuse me?” incidents:
- Gave some creepy bum on the bus a cursory glance to have him choose me to sit next to, when the bus was half empty, tell me all about his life, ask all about mine, get off at the same stop as me and try to follow me home. “Excuse me? Can I get your number?” Eeeeeeee! “Oh sure. Here.” (scribble random number, run into supermarket, hide in frozen food section, avoid bus stop at that time of day for the next 2 weeks).
- Walked down the street, to have every charity known to man try to sign me up for something “Excuse me? Can I talk to you for a minute?” Goddamit. “Oh I’m so sorry, I’m late to meet someone.” (run away in a hurry feeling guilty)
- Random person on the train “Excuse me? Have you got the time?” The train’s full, why go out of your way to ask me? “Um, no sorry, I don’t wear a watch.”
- Random person on the street “Excuse me? Can you tell me how to get to….?” Now this isn’t that bad and I’m quite happy to give people directions. Unless they have a bike and cross the street to ask me.
I’m also usually always the person first asked to given an answer in a meeting or forum. I guess its that I always pay attention and try to look interested, well most of the time anyway. In recent years, the “Excuse me’s?” have eased off. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and don’t look so generic anymore. Or maybe after years of this, I finally have that “don’t come near me, you jerk” look. Whatever it is, I’m pretty happy about it.