Tonight I had the awkward pleasure of finally meeting someone I have heard about for the past seven years, Joey. He is the son of one of the partners at my mom's law firm. Shortly after my mom started working there, she learned that Joey and I were the same age. We were both in college at the time--at rival Big Ten schools. The school I went to happened to be the alma mater of both of his parents; the school he went to, well, let's just say it was second rate.
Over the course of the years, it was revealed through interactions I had with Joey's father that Joey and I had quite a bit in common. We were both involved in theatre. We both took improv classes at Second City. We both got our degrees in the spring of 2001 and dawdled all summer instead of looking for jobs. When the economy crashed in September, we both lost all hope of ever finding "real" jobs and started working at different locations of the same chain restaurant. We both have the same smart-ass sense of humor. We both liked the same bands and had been at the same concerts without knowing it. Etc., etc., etc.
From the tone of these conversations, I started to worry that a set-up was on the horizon. Luckily, I found out from my mom that his parents were still holding out hope that he would marry a nice Jewish girl, so it was unlikely that dad would be playing matchmaker with a cradle Catholic. You see, despite the fact that we had all these things in common on paper, I could tell from the stories I'd heard that we had very different personalities. I'm sure we would get along and have plenty to talk about, but he was definitely a little bit frat boy, while, I on the other hand, was a little bit band camp girl.
Anyway, fastforward to now... I work at my mom's office as the evening legal secretary. Joey comes into the office at least once a week to visit and use the laser printer to print his resume on his headshot. We have exchanged pleasantries and such, but have never been formally introduced. I wondered if he even knows who I am. I mean, don't tell me that hours of my life that I'm never going to get back were spent listening to Joey stories, meanwhile he never heard one kind word about me. And, even if he did hear about "Kristi," did he know that I was the Kristi?
Well, tonight we finally officially "met." We engaged in a good half-hour of conversation, along with one of the attorneys who knows us both well. It started to get awkward, though, because I really didn't know how to play it. Do I let on that, despite the fact that we have never said more than "Hello" to each other, I know that he once "lent" his dad a pair of black socks for fifty dollars and only under the condition that they would be overnighted back to him the moment they were clean. Do I just ask him how the acting career is going, or do I wait for the fact that he has acting ambitions to come up in casual conversation? It was a bit surreal. It also wasn't helped out by the fact that he didn't act as though there were any spark of recognition regarding me whatsoever. After I made a couple of references to things I knew about him, he finally let it slip that he knew some things about me as well, so I felt a little better. But, seriously, what is the socially acceptable way to handle that situation? Lay your cards on the table right off the bat? Offer tasty morsels of knowledge in hopes that they'll nibble? Pretend like you don't know anything about them? I'm still not sure, because honestly I felt fairly awkward throughout the conversation (conversation number two will probably be much smoother, though)...