I went to buy tickets for the evening showing of Moana today (online ticketing was not working) and decided to have a solo lunch, as you do, at the mall. The minute I got the bill and was going to leave, two people I recognised walked in and my gut reaction was to try to make myself invisible.
They ended up sitting at the table beside me and I felt myself go rigid. I made it my mission at that point to not make eye contact and stare at the other end of the shop. I paid for my meal and exited as soon as possible.
Here’s the thing: the only person who was actually hyperaware was me. These are two people I don’t really know. One of them I went carolling with 5 years ago, the other was a student two years below me in secondary school. Would they have recognised me? Probably not, there was a slim chance of that.
But my instant reaction was to hide. My sympathetic system kicked in and I wanted to bolt.
I feel like that’s a classic move with me. I don’t know what it is. The last time I bumped into a person I knew in 7/11, I did my best to bolt but I got caught and made conversation. Which was fine. It wasn’t weird, not really.
Yet I don’t know why I do that. It’s not even with people I ‘don’t like’ or had ‘issues’ with. These two were regular people that likely, didn’t remember me.
Is it a thing to react like that? Or is it just my own personal mental issues getting in the way again?