There are some people who are just too interesting to know.
I like to pretend that I am an interesting person. I have "hobbies" and follow certain "issues," but the fact is, I'm a bit too caught up in popular culture to be all that interesting on my own. I prefer to spend time with others like me, who have very diverse interests and always seem worried about something, but they are not, necessarily "experts" at anything (yet...hey, we're young...we've got time). I can't handle people who are too successful at a young age. It makes me feel not only bad about my own lack of accomplishments but awkward at attempting to engage someone in conversation.
I thought I recognized his face when he tried to open the door. When I buzzed him in, I was certain. When I asked him his name (to tell the person he was here to see), it was confirmed. Before me stood, without a trace of recognition in his eyes, the semi-arty, curly-haired, brown eyed (you can sense where this is going, I'm sure), former tutor I had a crush on waaaaaaayyy back in Sophomore year. The crush ended when I asked him to attend an event with me, he said he might, then decided he wouldn't. It was awkward. I was extremely awkward then, having no real sense of what it means to ask a guy out, what it means to be a "woman." I hadn't seen him in almost 4 years. Still, I knew it was him. I was about to ask him (innocently, pretending as if I wasn't completely sure) if he had tutored a few years ago. Then, the memory of the stumbling and asking and fumbling awkward person that was me popped into my head, and I realized that I wanted nothing to do with her. We exchanged pleasant banter about why the door is locked (have to use a buzzer to get in), the seemingly lower intelligence of today's Freshman (some of whom couldn't find the Athletic Ticket Office if graduation depended on it), but I didn't bring up what I knew...
As I listened in (not evesdropping so much as overhearing) on the conversation he had with my colleague, I realized that the guy is an accomplished photographer who spent two years working in a laundromat, documenting the "social and cultural" happenings. He's been well received for his work in both black and white and color photography. He has moved from semi-arty to truly arty, all while maintaining his ability to bathe, comb his (still curly) hair and dress in stylish clothing (does that mean he's not allowed to be arty...just artistic?). In any case, listening to him talk, I realized that he is too involved in his work. All he could do was talk about "culture" and read aloud what critics said about his work (okay, so maybe "caught up in himself" is the phrase I'm looking for here, rather than interesting).
Not that I actually made a conscious decision to avoid talking to him, but the boy served a symbol for me. I don't have to go back to the past. I don't have to talk to people whom I will never "get" and who will never "get" me. His appearance here, after four years, didn't mean that I was supposed to talk to him and we would go out and eventually get married...it meant that in some ways I'm growing up: I'm not as anxious to start trying to re-connect with old flames who should "see me NOW!" I'm also not going to force something that just isn't there. Sure, the guy's cute...but that doesn't mean I have to start stuttering and fumbling, looking for conversation. No, I can just tell him that the person he's here to meet will be right out and then go back to my task of reading the morning papers.
After he leaves, I can write all about him on my blog.