100 ATRO #85: Running into your SO on the street

If you didn’t already know, ATRO stands for Awesome Things Rip-Off because I totally ripped off the idea from this guy.

The other night I was walking home from the bus stop. I stopped at the corner a couple of blocks from my apartment to wait for the light. From the corner of my eye, I saw a tall thin guy come near me. Of course I stiffened. There are lots of drunks and weirdos in my part of town. But then I looked a little closer – and it was MB!

“I didn’t recognize you!” he said, giving me a hug.

What is it about seeing someone near and dear to us unexpectedly and out of context?  Maybe it’s like seeing them for the first time again, on that first date, when you think, Okay, this guy is cute, and his emails were nice, there could be potential, but at the same time you know him.  The love and comfort are already there.  For a split second, you have the best of both worlds – that exciting but uncertain first meeting, and the certainty and love of a secure relationship.

The same can be said of friends and family.  One winter break in college, SB came to my house.  It was warm enough and we were sorta bored so we took a walk down the street behind my house.  It led to a strip mall, where there was a popular grocery store.  We said, “What if we saw ES there?”  We knew she was going there with her mother at some point before meeting up with us later.  We walked in, and there she was, looking very surprised.

Another time, right before I moved to SF in fact, I was hanging out with AY at a cafe in, where else, the strip mall at the end of the road behind my parents’ house.  We were sitting there talking when I saw from the corner of my eye an older Chinese guy walking towards us.  Suddenly, I realized: “That’s my father!”  I knew he was taking a walk, but still I was totally surprised.

It’s like worlds colliding.  For the moment, you’re grocery shopping with your mom, or hanging out with your friend, or walking home from work – you don’t expect to see someone you know enter that world.  But to your delight, there are your friends, your father, your significant other.

What wouldn’t be awesome is running into your SO kissing someone else on the street.  That’s for a whole other list entirely.


  1. This reminds me of the time I was on the N/W and it was about to exit Queensboro when some guy sat REALLY close to me… as in full body contact. I was like, gross, who is this pervert? I was wondering whether or not my magazine was thick enough to roll into a blunt instrument when Ron said “hi.” He was on his way to my apartment. Boy, was that a relief! And a pleasant surprise.

    • ha! i think MB has done that too – or rather, in a bookstore once, he put his face right near mine as i was reading, just out of my peripheral vision, and kept it there for a full 30 seconds before i even noticed.

  2. Yes, also not good is running into your very recent ex-SO in the mall where you work with the girl he cheated on you with. Who looks exactly like you. Not that that’s happened to me before.