In my brief time in Saint Louis yesterday I had to run to a bank to make my second house payment. For some odd reason my mortgage went from one bank to another but on my way home from the office I decided to see if I could make the payment by stopping at a branch instead of mailing it in. While this may seem like a common sense thing it wasn't for me because I had never done this and I had never gone into one of this bank's branches.
So I walked in nervous as could be. Heck, the entire drive to the branch was one filled with nerves as I kept thinking to myself, "What do I say?" and I recited, "Can I make this payment here? Or do I need to mail it?" aloud many times. What would be a non-event for most people can be a challenge on par with climbing a mountain as new things are just tough.
I got the to teller and I stumbled on my words, but I put the payment coupon and my check out and that was enough and the teller processed it and I got a receipt. Here's the thing about this post, the actual topic starts now.
With the receipt in hand I turned around and headed out the door. I beat a person that was coming in by about half-a-second so as I exited I held the door open and the man said, with quite some force, "Hello."
Hello... I don't know if there is a scarier single word than that. It is the portal that opens up the realm of conversations. Hello isn't that bad when said from a friend or family member, but to a complete stranger the word "eerie" isn't eerie enough to describe the absolute eerieness of a hello.
I froze for a moment as I processed the meaning of hello. Truly, I had to think about it because a random hello from a complete stranger isn't normal. Or is it? I'm pretty sure it isn't so I had no idea what to do. Truly, picture me holding the door frozen and lost because that's what I was.
A few seconds passed and he started heading back towards the door and I started walking out and he said, "Hey!" Okay, if there is something that's worse than hello it's a hello followed by a hey because there is ALWAYS something that follows a hey. I mean, does anything just say "hey!" without saying something else?
I tried to ignore the hey but it was no use. He then said, "Wow! I really love your shirt" and as he completed that sentence he took his index finger and poked me in the shoulder and walked around me and into the bank. I remained frozen.
I've had issues with being touch on the shoulder before and I stood there, in front of the bank, frozen, angry, confused, and in shock. What just happened? Strangers don't say hello, they then don't say hey, and they most certainly DO NOT POKE A PERSON ON THE SHOULDER BECAUSE THEY LIKE A SHIRT!!! Was I yelling? Sorry, but I guess this offsets the self-control I exhibited yesterday when this happened.
Okay, I'll be honest, my purple shirt is kind of awesome. It's my favorite shirt, but I know there is a social rule out there that says, "a person that likes another person's shirt is not allowed, in any way, to poke the person wearing the shirt." What, there isn't a rule like that? There should be!
I eventually wandered to my car and I got in and I just sat there in a daze. One thing I forgot to mention is that my body went into a severe defensive state. After the poke my muscles clinched up and a huge shot of adrenaline rushed through my system. I'm sure the man had no intentions of creating such an episode as the only thing he knew was that my shirt came from awesometown, but the end result was a huge shock to my body and a lingering sense of frustration and tiredness.
In this post I have shown a side of humor, but the event, as it happened, was anything but. I'm glad I can throw that spin on it as I write it now, but it is difficult, unless you've experienced, to understand what each segment of this encounter, in terms of anxiety, caused. Most people can handle a hello from a stranger, I struggle with it. Most people won't panic when "hey" is said but I go into complete panic mode. And most people won't have their bodies defenses get triggered by a person who just wanted to feel what the fabric of their shirt feels like... okay, maybe this is something that spectrum and non-spectrum people share, but the lasting effects I felt took an hour to clear up.
I'll finish this post by saying this; dear world. I know some of you out there are fans of shirts, and that's fine, but if you see a stranger (or me for that matter) and the shirt that person is amazing I plead with you that poking is not an acceptable way to say you like a shirt.