Sunday has become my favorite day in Utah. You might think for religious reasons, but no, I’m sorry it is not. You see, Sunday is my cheat day where I eat what I want. I usually go to Five Guys and pick something from their menu. A lot of places are usually closed on Sundays, but you have a lot of the bigger chain owned areas that are open for most of the day. Last week I decided on something that I wanted to do today: to meet one person every time I go in to place my order.
Now, for those of you that don’t know me, I have a lot of social issues when it comes to meeting and talking to people. Even those I know well can cause some discomfort. I have a lot of anxiety, and it builds up when I try to do anything new, especially in meeting someone. With the sudden changes in my life I felt I needed to do this. I believe it will help me break out of some of my constant discomfort. Today was the day and it took a lot of courage.
After I ordered my food, I looked around and only saw one person. He was an older man, at least in his mid-50’s, sitting down by himself eating peanuts awaiting his order. I pick Five Guys for this kind of thing because even though they are considered fast food it doesn’t usually come to you in a few minutes. Nothing against the quality because the food is good, but they actually prep and cook everything right there. If this was Taco Bell, I probably wouldn’t get to meet someone.
Anyways, I went to get my drink and I stood there looking at him. I’m actually glad this wasn’t an attractive woman sitting alone because I’m sure everyone would assume I was a serial killer. I finally walked up to the table and sat down right across from him. I could immediately tell he went into high alert. Why? Well, the place was empty and some guy just sat right in front of him probably smiling like a goofball. Again, I was nervous.
I introduced myself and told him why I was starting this conversation. Let’s take a step back into my mind. Why do I assume the worst from people? I do it all the time, and of course my brain is telling me he is going to be annoyed with me. He doesn’t want to be bothered and just wants his damn food. People would blame social media or the news on this, but for me, it is just how my brain works. I always assume the worst.
So was he annoyed? No. In fact, he laughed and thought it was an interesting thing. His name was Dave. Now, for Dave I wanted to keep things simple and basic. I went right for what he did for a living and it was a good thing because it was in the same field as me. Well, sort of. Dave is a self-employed contractor for computer programming. We had something in common.
I told Dave about how I worked for HCA. My job allows me to work from home as well where I help doctors or nurses with all their computer problems. Dave told me how he enjoyed the work, but he hated the travel. I could relate to that and told him about my time in the military. I hated being away from my wife during deployments. However, I showed him the bracelet I wear on my wrist that I got from Palu. I told him how every time I look at it I remember the old man on the beach selling it. He would get coral and shape them into balls for these bracelets or necklaces. It is one of my better military memories.
We continued to exchange information back and forth about our jobs, but I talked a little more. He was curious about how I worked from home and what applications I covered. We managed hundreds, along with a wiki to help us do what we can. I told him how much doctors annoyed me. They can open up your brain to get a tumor out, but they can’t change their damn passwords. He thought that was funny.
The woman finally called out his order number, and with a smile he said he had to go. He shook my hand and asked again for my name. Maybe he will go home and tell his family about how he met a weird guy named Tony, or maybe he is going to go on his Facebook page to write out his experience. Though I’m pretty sure he went to the police station to report me.
Sadly, I forgot to take his picture. I’m really disappointed with that because I wanted to make sure I take pictures of the people I meet. Dave, if you are reading this be sure to throw me your email in my contact section with your picture. You are my first (ha ha), so I’m sure your face will be engraved in my mind.
There is a lot more I want to do with this blog, but this is the first series I wanted to create. Thanks for reading this, and maybe you should give meeting a random stranger a shot.