During the three years I've worked at the mall Customer Service desk I've become friendly with many of the regular mall walkers. The majority of them are older, retired folks that don't have job commitments, so they're able to come to the mall every day for their exercise. Most of them just smile, but a few say hello as they breeze by me at the desk. A couple even stop and talk on a regular basis.
For more than a year I conversed almost every day (and sometimes more than once) with a 70-something retired professional man. I learned quite a bit about his childhood, schooling, and work life, but what he really liked to talk about was current events. Some of his opinions were on the verge of being offensive, but I have thick skin and let them roll off my back. For the most part, he'd repeat the same ideas every day. However every once in a while I'd hear a fascinating story from years gone by that made up for the monotony. He only talked with me and the Boss; none of the other people who work at the desk were 'lucky' enough to command his attention.
Sometime in early February of this year the man disappeared, and after a while the Boss and I began to be concerned. However, one day last month he reappeared. I was happy to see him, and gave him a hearty hello. He looked at me like he'd never seen me before, then sat down in the chairs closest to the desk. It looked like he was thinking things over. Eventually he came over to me and asked me my name. We'd only chatted for a few minutes before he turned abruptly and left.
Since that day he doesn't speak with me. If I'm at the desk by myself, the man enquires when Boss will be here as he passes by. At first I was upset by the snub, but after a while I decided it wasn't such a bad thing. I don't have to have the same conversation day after day, and I don't have to bite my tongue when I hear an outlandish opinion.
Five years ago today: Pretty In Pink