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Changing Interactions

November 21, 2007

I find that having a “new” job out here or working back home in Vancouver leads to a massive change in my interaction with the world.  Because I’m … effectively on constant public display at work, in a high traffic location, meeting at least one new person per shift, I think differently of the people I see on the street.  I realize that my caution, my discretion regard my behavior is heightened.

See, I have this abiding fear of an incident similar to that with the taxi driver happening, but worse.  I’ve had some pretty raw nights out.  I still do, now and again, though less so out here.  (It is U Waterloo, after all.)  I’ve offended people, shamed myself, gotten into some pretty ugly moments.  And loved it.  But every time, for weeks after, I have this little fear that one of those folks who saw me with no pants on in that park at that party (Not a recent occurrence.) or the group of little children I cussed out for pretending to be hardcore (Also not recent.) or any number of other people affected by my having fun who don’t actually know me will show up at work one day,and we’ll have a Moment.  Staring at each other across the counter.  Waiting for someone to make the first move.  Will she throw the coffee I just gave her back in my face?  Will he try and give me his number?  …Again?  Will they make trouble for me here, of all places?

Every time I was at a party at Renfrew, I’d be concerned that someone who saw me drunkenly Skytraining it home, or stumbling down to Chevron in bizarre getup would show up at work.  They never did. Vancouver is a big city, thankfully.  I did see folks from the Folk Fest Afterparties at Community Cup a few times, but I’d embraced moderation at those, and there was nothing to be concerned they’d bring up.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have very little I’m ashamed of.  Internet, you may not get all my stories, but I’m not ashamed of any of them.  If I was, I’d stop doing it.  But I still don’t want to have to have Those Conversations with co-workers and employers.

So I find myself toning it down.  I’m nicer to people on busses or the street, or wherever, just in case they come in one day – I’d rather be the forgotten polite guy rather than the remembered asshole.

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