Here’s a scenario for you.
Suppose you’re having coffee at your favorite café. Then, out of the blue, someone you had a relationship with (be it your serious ex or your Platonic ex) shows up at the door. A stroke of dumb luck.
Your cappuccino suddenly turns cold, your sandwich feels like fresh vomit in your mouth, and your cigarette suddenly tastes like crap.
Your eyes remain locked at each other for at least five seconds, but you could swear it lasted forever. You feel like Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca:” of all the coffee joints in all the towns in all the countries in all the world, she comes to yours.
So what do you do?
- A: You invite her over to your table. For a full minute, you both remain silent. Then you initiate the conversation by talking awkwardly about completely awkward things, like if she saw any good movies lately or about the weather. You end up talking like this for the better part of 15 minutes. Then you offer to pay for her coffee.
- B: You drink your hot coffee like a man dying of thirst, giving no regard to getting an intestinal burn. You call for the bill, pay and leave the change as a generous tip, and rush out of the coffee shop pretending that you’re answering an important phone call from US President George W. Bush himself.
- C: You ignore her. You look out the window playing the license-plate game. You count the number of bumps that there are in the napkins your coffee came with. You ruminate about the chemical composition of your coffee, linking carbon atoms and water molecules in your head, and figuring out where caffeine fits in all this.
- D: You wait patiently for about five minutes, making up a monologue in your head, invoking those cheesy lines you sort of memorized from your favorite movies. Then you stand up, head to her table, and deliver your lines with your best Al Pacino impersonation. You talk about the good times you had, what led to your breakup, and then you start screaming, “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! This whole coffee shop is out of order!”
What would you do?