Here's how it went down. TJ got up from the table, leaving me unprotected in the booth by myself. A guy I used to work with walked in and sat down in another booth, directly facing me.
There was absolutely nothing between our line of sight. I was about to say hi, but then he looked away without a trace of recognition. Then it went like this in my head.
Look away. He hasn't seen you yet. He'll notice you in a few seconds, so just pretend you haven't seen him yet.
Oh! I think he's looking! Look up and act surprised to see him.Ooop! Nope. He didn't quite see me. I have no where else to look. Pick up my phone.There! Now he's seen me. Try to time it to make him think we notice each other at the same time.I almost said his name before realizing he didn't see me yet. It's a little too far away to shout a greeting, but I don't want to be rude. Is NOT saying anything more rude than shouting across the restaurant? Once he sees me, he'll realize that I would have had to see him. He'll know I was ignoring him.Ok, he noticed!No. No, he didn't. Maybe he did, but doesn't want to talk to me. Maybe he forgot who I am. No, he's too nice for that. I just saw him the other day, and we greeted each other by name. He knows me. He likes me.
I went back and forth lots more times before TJ finally came back from his adventure around Subway. That's when I realized that I was making this into a ridiculous situation. I snuck a photo and told TJ that I would explain later. In the end, I never got my encounter, and TJ was disappointed I wasn't taking a picture of something more exciting.
And now that I think about it, I don't know why I was so anxious for an encounter. It wouldn't have gone further than a couple words. And then I wouldn't have had a story at all.