My job is pretty simple, I serve tables and tend bar and everyday I go to work. While there, I meet all sorts of interesting people from all over the world and some not so interesting people, too. People come and go, some chat, others have their noses in books, laptops or blackberries, while some just people watch. A couple comes in, I greet them, give them menus and bring them drinks and eventually food, a group comes in, and it's the same thing...all day long. I laugh with some, we joke around, then I send them on their way.
Everything is fairly straight forward, my day goes as it always does, until I get one of those chance encounters. Almost always brief, it's gone almost as soon as it starts. Every once in a while, when you work in a place, you'll see them. They're everywhere, it doesn't matter where you go. There's movement in the background, in your peripheral vision, just ever so slightly out of your sight, there are people lurking there. They peek in the windows, crack the door just enough to sneak a look. You see them and casually greet them. They quickly cower away, holding up their hands in surrender, hurriedly scurrying off, refusing to even make eye contact...what was that? What the hell is that all about? What is this strange phenomena? It's happening all over, everywhere. In bars, restaurants and pubs across this nation. Don't believe me? I swear on my next cocktail, it's the truth, ask any service industry worker and they'll tell you the same thing.
Who are these people? Were they banished from society doomed to live in obscurity forever? Were they horribly disfigured in a horrible nuclear accident? Do they think they're invisible and are shocked to find that I am able to see them? Are they wanted criminals on the lam? Am I scary and intimidating?
Restaurants, pubs, bars are all public places, you can have a look. People somehow feel they've committed to staying if you exchange greetings and they want no part of it, they won't let you trap them in your web. Maybe the reason that they might be scared, is because instead of hello, they might slip up and order 6 beers and the 16oz T-bone steak by accident and that would be the worse possible thing that could ever happen. I once worked with this guy who would joke that they might as well just come on in, we already had a $40 tab going for them.
Big thanks to Ron