Last night my husband and I went to the mall. We don't get to do that often, but someone had given me some Border's gift cards and they were burning a hole in my pocket. So off we went and I left the store with four new books to read. My husband will be gone all next week, so I'm thinking of taking that week to just dive into the fiction world with relish. (But no ketchup or mustard.) But then again, I may read just one now ... who am I kidding? I'll probably devour all four books in the next couple of days as if they were Russell Stover chocolates that I bought for myself on Valentine's Day. It's binge time, baby!
But that's not actually what today's blog is about. That's just a rather disturbing glimpse into the inner me. LOL As my husband and I walked through the mall we passed a small food court. I was busy talking about my own work of fiction and daydreaming aloud of the day I had a book signing at this same Borders (hey, it could happen!) when we heard someone call out to us. There, sitting at a table were some friends from church. Apparently they had been waving frantically at us for some time, but we were completely oblivious to them. We joked some about pretending not to see them, and that got me to thinking about how often people do just that. Hasn't there been people you ran into in a public venue that for some reason you really didn't want to speak to them? Whether you just didn't have time to stop, you didn't want to hear what they had to say or you really, truly didn't like them? (Theresa, Angela and Savannah, I PROMISE you that's not what happened last night!)
So how do we avoid these people? Well, there's the oblivious walk-by which is what I was (unknowingly, of course!) doing last night. You pretend to be involved in such a fascinating conversation with the person you're walking with that you have no idea what's going on around you. If you happen to be by yourself, you pretend to be looking intently for a store on the other side of the mall. That one can backfire, though, if the store on the other side happens to be a Victoria's Secret or one of those awful Goth-type places.
There's also the about-face, but that's a little harder to do in a subtle manner. Suddenly turning and heading in the opposite direction is pretty obvious unless you can say something loudly to your companion such as, "Oh, wait! I think it's back this way!"
Then you have your more purposeful avoidance. You send a clear message that you're too busy to notice anyone or be stopped by someone. You look repeatedly at your watch and hurry through the mall as though late for an appointment. You open your cell phone and pretend to be involved in an intense conversation. (Hint! It's a dead giveaway if your phone actually rings during your pretend conversation!)
There's also the dodge. It's handy if an escalator is nearby, but that's still a risky venture because they move so slowly. You can step into the nearest store, but again you need to watch what they sell. I don't care who you're trying to avoid, if you walk into an maternity shop people WILL start talking.
I love it when I'm with someone who suddenly spots a person they'd rather not see. They plaster a fake smile on their face and start talking through their clenched teeth. "Oh my goodness! You will not believe who just walked in! I so don't want to see them! No, no don't look. It'll be too obvious. They're just over your left shoulder. No, your left shoulder ... don't look! They're standing by the Starbucks counter ... yeah, like they need another mocha latte. Okay, they're walking away ... what on earth are they doing going into that store? There's nothing in there for someone like them. You don't suppose they're avoiding us, do you? Well of all the nerve!"
All in all, if you really don't like running into people you know, you need to stay out of public places or shop in stores so expensive your friends aren't likely to go there. In the meantime, I'll see you at the mall! (You ARE coming to my book signing, aren't you?)