So, at the gym I attend, there was this kid who seemed to be on the same workout schedule as me. I would see him every day at the same time and he’d usually be working the same body part as me. I noticed he would always try to make eye contact with me, but I just tried to ignore it because I’m an anti-social piece of shit. It’s pretty obvious he is attempting to get my attention, but my attention isn’t something I just toss around to people I don’t know.
A few weeks after I started to notice him, I’m doing an exercise when I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and it’s the kid.
“What’s up, man? It’s good to see you.”
He reaches out for a handshake and I reciprocate. I’m confused, but I play along and tell him it’s good to see him too. He tells me to have a good workout and walks off.
Now, I’m thinking, shit, I must know this kid. But where from?
The next day he comes up to me again. “Sup bro? How are things going?” He asks this with a look that could’ve been perceived as concern, or just genuine interest.
What did this mean? Is he just making conversation, or is he referring to a specific situation that I apparently don’t remember anything about? Were things not going well for me when I met him? Did I even meet him? I think about asking him where I know him from, but I don’t want to look like an idiot, so I just tell him things are going good and ask him the same question.
“Oh, you know how it is man, am I right?” He says this with a smile and slaps my arm, walking off.
I’m really confused now. No, dude, you aren’t right. I don’t know how it is. I don’t remember who you are. I don’t know if you’re just a friendly guy, or if we met under some really strange circumstances that I have no recollection of. Apparently, we have an inside joke, and I’m not in on it. I continue my work out and rack my brain in search of “how it is”.
As the days go by, these exchanges keep happening. I wasn’t getting any weird vibes from this kid, he genuinely seemed like a nice dude. A nice dude who I was pretty sure I had never met before. But, I had pretty much reached the point of no return. If I asked him who he was now, I would look like an absolute douche monkey.
One day, I walk into the gym and he’s standing by the entrance talking with someone he obviously knows. He asks me what’s up as I pass by, and I reciprocate. The guys he’s talking to then asks, “how’s it goin, bro?”
DUDE. Do I know this guy too? Was he at this mystery meeting as well? Or is he just being nice to one of his buddy’s friends? Dammit, I guess me and the original mystery guy are friends now. And I don’t even know his name.
I turn to mystery guy number two, and say, “ah, you know how it is, bro.”
He cracks a smile and excitedly points at me like we’re playing a pick-up basketball game and he just hit a three-pointer off of my assist. “That’s my dude!” he yells.
Things continue like this for over a month. I don’t see the second guy as often, but he greets me now as well. The original kid is there every day. People at the gym are probably thinking me and him are the best of pals, and I’m just praying I don’t have to introduce him to someone I know.
One day, one fateful day, me and him happen to start working out on machines located right next to one another. Rather than just the simple drive by interaction, I know that this will now be the time we are forced to have an actual conversation. We make eye contact, shake hands, ask each other how things are going, and then, silence. After about eight full seconds of excruciatingly painful off-into-the-distance stares, each of us thinking what to say next, the kid says,
“Hey man, where do I know you from?”
I breathe a gigantic sigh of relief. I explain to him I have no idea and he cracks up, telling me he’s been trying to figure it out this whole time. We finally learn each other’s names and agree to grab a beer sometime. Just then, the kid’s friend (mystery guy number two) walks by and excitedly greets us and shakes our hands before continuing on to his workout.
I turn to my new friend and ask him what the other kids name is.
He just looks at me and says,