So my wife has this woman she has worked with (we'll call her Amy), the past few years. They became close because Amy has a son who is around the same age of our son Nyles. Nyles and her son have played together, my wife and Amy have had extended play dates, and I even got in on the action, when they hosted a couples play date at some point last year*
*Sidebar*: That play date was the most awkward sh*t I've ever attended and that's saying a lot. The women and children got along just fine, as was to be expected. The guys were not put in a position to succeed at all. There was a TV in the living room, but it stayed off, which meant there was no basketball, no ESPN, no soccer, no nothing. Just crazy kids running around and meaningless chatter about b.s. (the weather, the what-do-you-do-for-a-living question, etc). The only thing that kept this event from being an absolute disaster was the presence of alcohol. I downed one mimosa and 5 beers in a 10 minute span hoping it would set things off, but it was still awkward. When you throw in the fact that I was the only black guy there, it just made for a weird time. I will never allow my wife to convince me to attend such an event. Not on those terms at least **sidebar over***
Anyway I have been in Amy's home, I've talked to Amy while she was with my wife at work, and I have had at least 5-10 face-to-face conversations with her. Not to mention, my son looks exactly like me, so she's played with and been exposed to mini-me as well. I also should mention here that Amy, my wife and I all work on the same block (different buildings).
I have walked by Amy at least 20 times since we've worked near each other. When this happens my wife is not around and neither is Nyles, it is just me and Amy, and she walks RIGHT by me. I say good morning to her, and she looks at me, then she keeps walking like she doesn't know who the hell I am. Just this morning, she and I stood next to each other in Starbucks for seven minutes (I timed it). I said good morning, and she gave me the I-don't-know-you-but-I'm-speaking-anyway greeting, but she had no clue it was me. I'm not exactly the most socially-adjusted dude on the face of the Earth, and God knows I hate small-talk, but I put all that aside where my wife's friends are concerned. Plus, this woman has spent quality time with me and my son, so I'm almost obligated to speak. Apparently that's a one-way street.
Now in fairness, my wife tells me that Amy has endured some serious personal tragedies over the last year, which means she is prone to random periods of zoning out and not paying attention to her surroundings. I do understand that, but I'm not asking for a full-on conversation. I just want some acknowledgement that we know each other, our kids play, and how the hell are you?
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this has been happening to me for years with white people I work with. While I'm at the job, they speak, they talk to me, we share playful jokes, but then outside of work, they treat me like I do not exist. Just a few months back I saw one of my co-workers--a woman who sits right next to me--at the Safeway. I said hello Alyssa, and she looked at me, took her headphones off, and said, "I'm sorry, have we met?". I thought she was joking, and when I realized she wasn't I had to tell her my name, where I worked, and where I sat, and then she said, "Oh hey Rashad, OMG I didn't recognize you!". I was not wearing a hat, a fake beard, or a disguise. I wasn't in work attire at all, but damn. Variations of that same scenario have happened several times during my 20 year work career. I don't understand it. It doesn't happen with all of white co-workers, but it never happens with any of my black ones.
God bless the life of Clark Terry