So, I was walking from my car to my class yesterday and saw at least five people that I sorta knew. Do you know what people I mean? There's a good chance I don't remember their name, or even exactly where I know them, but they look remarkably familiar. And I see that they're thinking the same about me, and their also thinking, much like I am, "Oh, please. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not try to talk to me." Because we both know how it'll go down:
"So, I think we had like a class or something together right?"
"Yeah... so what was your name again? I'm totally spacing." (this is the REALLY brave one)
"It's Tim. And what was yours? I totally forgot too." (feeling good about being let off the hook)
"It's John... So, what's knew in your life?" (doesn't really care, John's not aware of what was old in Tim's life).
"Oh, nothing really. School and work, living the dream." (I honestly say the words, "living the dream," in every one of these encounters hoping for a laugh and never get one).
"I hear ya. Well hey, you have a good day huh? We should do lunch or something some time." (Doesn't really mean it, but has absolutely nothing else to say).
"Definitely. We'll see you later." (you'll notice they both stopped using names there at the end. It's cause they both forgot the other guy's name already).
Isn't this awkward to READ? Now think about the last time you lived this. Didn't that suck? Well, my friends, I have the answer: Think about it. What is the real issue with this conversation? You've got squat to talk about. I'm going to assume that you are a nice person, one who would like to say something because you know that it's nice when people recognize you. They don't really need to know your name, just recognize you (this is why they head nod is so awesome). The only really bad part is when talking follows the head nod. So what we really need in these situations is, The Water Gun. Some of you will scoff at this (I can hear you scoffing through your keyboards now), but let's run through a water gun scenario.
Inner thought of Tim: I totally know this guy, take aim, BAM! right on the chest, awesome!
Inner thought of John: I think I know this... Dang, he got me first.
John: You totally got me first! I was thinking, I totally know this guy and you beat me to the draw.
Tim: Yeah, I swear we had a class together or something, but I saw that look in your eye like you were deciding if you knew me, so I thought I'd take the shot.
John: And it was a nice one. Talk about aim.
Tim: When this water gun thing was instituted I got a good one and started practicing.
John: What model do you have.
Tim: The Friend Finder 2000
John: Oh, I've got The Acquaintance Hunter 990.
Tim: That's a good model.
John: Nothing like The Friend Finder though.
Tim: Yeah, well....
John: Well hey, I'd better let you go, was it...
Tim: Tim, and what was your name?
John: John. I'm the worst with names.
Tim: Me too. Anyway, see you later John.
John: See you Tim.
Didn't that exchange rock? Now, I am assuming that all of us will be cool and stay away from being jerks (aiming for eyes, shooting over and over, soaking us so the December air will give us pneumonia). But do you see the conversation starting ability here? We would ALL have guns, so we'd have at least one thing in common. We would ALL be trying to be the first to notice people we know, so we'd all be a little friendlier. Water isn't that expensive, so it wouldn't be like my friend who would huck candy bars at people for fun. Don't get me wrong, I see the possible pit falls, but if we were all in this together, I think it would make it possible to be friendly, without feeling so awkward.