Sometimes it doesn't pay to be sneaky, even when you're just fooling around.
Once, I was getting ready to go to dinner with a couple of friends after an evening of studying, but needed to pick up a paycheck first. My friends dropped me off to pick up the check. On the way back I saw that I would be approaching the car head on and in full view. It was the only obvious route to the car. For fun, I decided to jump down off a retaining wall of Unlikely Height™, a slightly longer trip which afforded the advantage of sneaking up on the car from behind. The punch line was to bang the rear window and scare the bejeezus out of my pals. A jump down would get me to the car quick enough to not arouse suspicion that I was taking too long to return.
My feet stung from the landing, but the plan was perfect. I approached the car unnoticed, partly because the car windows were slightly fogged in the cold spring air. Near enough to touch the car, I was ready for my sneaky denouement. But as I lifted my hand, I saw that my friends (a guy and gal who were not a known item at the time) were taking the opportunity to get in some, ah, "face time" in secret. How sneaky of them, even though they had been out-sneaked. Slightly embarrassing, to be sure. But ahh - the blush of springtime as it escapes the chill of winter. Young love. I was verklempt, and happy for them.
I was lucky to realize my faux pas before making a fool of myself. Carefully retracing my tracks far, I ran like hell to get around the retaining wall and back to the building. This would allow me to exit the building in full view, giving them some warning to avoid embarrassment and retain dignity in their secret.
As I approached the car, I saw everything as I had originally expected it to be. No one was in anyone else's arms. However, I'm sure we all had a little secret smile in our hearts as we rode off for a quick bite to eat.
It's not the only time I've come upon two people in a secret embrace, but it was definitely the least embarrassing and most endearing time. I won't go into detail about the other time I stumbled awkwardly into someone else's private romance. But I will say that when people really want to believe that you didn't see anything, you can come up with some pretty lame excuses like "I can't see a thing without my glasses" which may not eliminate the weirded out moment, but create a shared fiction where everyone can go about their business pretending that nothing has happened.
When in doubt, don't sneak up on people. Lesson learned.Posted by James at January 14, 2004 5:26 PM