Hey You!

This picture has nothing to do with the story. It’s just funny to me to think these guys are undoing each others’ work.

In a common area of a college campus I saw something interesting: little plastic stands with a picture of Joey from Friends saying, “How you doin’?” I assume this is his catchphrase or maybe one of them because I’ve never watched Friends and in fact if you added up all the bits and pieces of the show I’ve happened to catch while flipping through channels or waiting for something else to come on they wouldn’t even add up to a full episode and I’m not even all that sure “Joey” is the character’s name, but that’s another story. Anyway the stands were on a table with a sign explaining that if you were sitting alone but open to a stranger starting a conversation with you the stand would be a signal. And I think this is a great idea. I don’t know how many students used them or even what they thought of them, and it does seem kind of weird to say, “I’m open to having random strangers come up and talk to me,” but then I’ve had some really interesting conversations with random strangers.

Anyway I was on the bus and it stopped at a red light right next to a restaurant that has an open patio and, this being spring, there were people sitting out on the patio. There was a couple and I thought the guy was looking in the direction of the bus so I waved.

Yeah, that sounds pretty goofy, but a sudden impulse seized me and I thought, why not?

He didn’t notice. I think he really wasn’t looking at the bus and then he turned away, but then he turned back so I waved again. And he waved back.

The light changed and the bus moved away, so I didn’t get a chance to act on my next sudden impulse which was to open the window and yell, “How’s that burger?” or “What are you drinking?” or maybe just “How you doin’?” Maybe that’s just as well and maybe it’s just as well that the circumstances that allowed me to wave in the first place are unlikely to coalesce ever again, but at least he was open to sharing a moment with a random stranger.

This video is just long enough that after watching it I’ve now seen approximately half an episode of Friends.

16 Comments

  1. Frank Versnick

    The guy on the left is keeping the nut from turning

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      They’re both a couple of nuts.

      Reply
  2. Chuck Baudelaire

    You have to watch Friends. Everybody has to watch Friends. What if someone approaches you and says “Chanandler Bong” or “unagi” and you have no idea how to react? In this topsy-turvy world, I don’t think you should take that chance.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Those are going on my list of reasons why I have to watch Friends. Yes, it’s scary but I actually have a list of reasons why I should watch Friends. I think it’s up to about seven or eight items now. That’s well beyond critical mass.

      Reply
  3. halfa1000miles

    I refuse to sit at the bar of any restaurant because I think sitting at the bar is the equivalent of “come talk to me”. My husband thinks I am a doof. Sitting at the bar means “eager to mingle”. That’s the grownup version of the “How you doin?” sign.

    Please turn in your WENUS report on your Friends watching stats. K, thanks.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Your husband thinks you’re a doof? What’s wrong with him? Seriously, every time I’ve ever been sitting at a bar some stranger has seen it as an opportunity to start talking to me. Sitting at the bar is saying “come talk to me” because it’s where strangers commingle. If you don’t want to commingle you get a table or booth.
      How your husband missed that is beyond me.

      Reply
    2. Allison Everett

      I don’t sit at the bar when I travel for the same reason. And because as a short person, I find the height to be a real pain in the ass. That said, I talk to strangers constantly.

      Reply
      1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

        As a short person myself I get annoyed when they have stools that require me to climb up and let my feet dangle. Some restaurants seem to think that’s appropriate even at tables and not just at the bar.

        Reply
  4. Arionis

    If I was the one sitting on the patio and you waved at me from the bus I probably would have choked on my hamburger while thinking, “Is that guy waving at me?” Shortly followed by, “I hope someone knows the Heimlich Maneuver.” However, results may vary depending on how many drinks I’d consumed.

    I’m glad you have a list of reasons to watch Friends and are not down right boycotting it. If that were the case I doubt we could be “friends”. I’d give it my vote for the funniest Sitcom ever. PIVOT!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Maybe I should be judicious in my waving. I took CPR and Heimlich maneuver training many years ago and I don’t know if I’d get it right in an emergency.
      And later this month I’ll hopefully be seeing an old friend who’s watched the entire series of Friends at least four times, so maybe now would be a good time to start watching.

      Reply
  5. Ann Koplow

    I’ve never watched “Friends” either, Chris, even though people I’m friends with have told me I have to watch it. Maybe I have enough friends.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Is there such a thing as enough friends? Maybe you have so many friends you don’t have time to watch “Friends”, which is a good thing.

      Reply
  6. Kat

    I got so much grief for never watching Friends and finally watched it all when it came to Netflix (or is it Hulu…? Either way, it’s somewhere!). Definitely worth watching!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hope it’s Netflix. Either way thank you for another recommendation.

      Reply
  7. Spoken Like A True Nut

    I have terrible social anxiety, so having to try and make conversation with well-meaning strangers is my personal lowest circle of hell, but I do appreciate small gestures like a smile or a wave or a shared eyeroll. Sometimes a little spontaneous goofiness is just what the doctor ordered.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s something I should keep in mind. I don’t want to set off anyone’s social anxiety, but, on the other hand–both hands, actually–if I can brighten someone’s day and maybe give them a boost of energy with a thumbs-up then I’m all for that. It’s why I wave to the people in the tour buses that pass in front of my office building.

      Reply

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