Tuesday, 29 January 2008

A Missed Opportunity

On our way back from Dartmoor on Saturday we stopped in to the supermarket in Totnes and at the next checkout was someone who looked familiar.

Right, I thought, now where do I know her from? She had a certain way of standing, of looking at you with her head slightly to one side but with a steady gaze, and I couldn’t think where I knew her from.

A few minutes later, as I waited in the queue for the loos, I suddenly realised who she was.

My boss’s secretary when we worked at BSB News, 18 years ago. Susan she was called – or was it Sue? And she was living with a Polish fellow – or was he Italian? It wasn’t going too well.

But she was a great secretary. Handled my boss brilliantly. Calm, serene sense of humour, and clear blue/grey eyes that took in every situation and acted, or reacted, accordingly.

I wondered whether I should say hello. Whether she would recognise me. I wondered what she was doing in Totnes when we’d met and worked in London. She was buying quite a lot of food so it didn’t look as if she was staying with friends for the weekend. Single type of stuff she was buying. You know, single yogurts and a packet of ham.

I dithered, for some reason, suddenly back to being the agonisingly shy 6 year old that I was. When I told Av and she said, ‘yes, of course. Go and say hello.’

So I hurried back to the checkout with my heart thumping. My mouth went dry and I wanted to run. What should I say? Was she called Sue or something else?

I rushed round to the checkout – and she was gone.

I felt a rush of relief, fast overtaken by crushing disappointment. If only I’d been braver, she wouldn’t have gone. Now I’ll never know.

16 comments:

Rebecca Taunton said...

It's a small world, isn't it?! A shame you missed the opportunity, but maybe it just wasn't meant to be!

Flowerpot said...

and who knows, RT. Maybe the next time I'm there I'll see her and introduce myself this time!

Philipa said...

Next time just say hello and smile and leave it at that, chances are she'll either do the remembering or, if you are mistaken, think the world a nicer place for someone saying hello :-)

Lane said...

That's a shame. You never know, you may bump into her again:-)

BreadBox said...

Never regret. Never rue the opportunity. It's gone.
But next time? Snatch it!

N.

Flowerpot said...

Philipa - next time I'll certainly say hello.

Lane - I'm hoping I will - we're up there again in a few weeks.

Breadbox - no I don't regret but i will keep my eyes peeled next time I'm there!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I've just caught up on your tenant woes. Good Lord. It may be a business, but it is a very unpredictable one, isn't it?

If it makes you feel any better I do the same thing when I run into people like that. I wish I knew why. Maybe I think they won't recognize me and I'll feel a fool. That's not such a big deal, really, yet I still don't approach them.

Flowerpot said...

rc - glad to know I'm not the only one that does this!

Akelamalu said...

What a shame you hesitated. I see people I remember all the time but I am terrible at remembering names so I never talk to them. It would be rude to say "Hey whatyourface do you remember me? wouldn't it?

Ellee Seymour said...

What a shame, I wonder if she spotted you.

Miss Understood said...

Well, now you know where she shops...and if it was a weekly shop, perhaps she does it on the same day every week? A lot of people do!

Flowerpot said...

ellee - I don't think she did. Or if she did, she didn't register!

Flowerpot said...

Ak - my husband's just like that! And I'm getting that way I must say...

Flowerpot said...

MissU - yes I could do that in a few week's time. good thinking!

Katherine and Pippa, said...

I go with the "It wasn't meant to be" point of view.

Not that I ever see anyone anyway as I'm too short-sighted so I don't have these dilemmas.

Flowerpot said...

katherine - I'm very short sighted but i was wearing my glasses this time!