Do you ever feel like you're being haunted by a living person?

File under: nada mucho | rant

Rochester is a small city, and having lived here for-egad!-15 years, it's not uncommon to run into someone I know when I'm out and about. That is something I really love about Rochester, but every once in a while, like in the following account, it's just obnoxious.
To preface, in the early 2000s, I was on grand jury duty. Every other day for a month I had to show up at the Monroe County Courthouse and listen to cases that could potentially go to trial. Overall, it was an interesting experience, and I'm glad I got to take part in doing my civic duty. Blah, blah, blah. I was in a thankless job at the time and figured skipping 10 days out of the month while getting paid for it would be delightful. The first day, after being selected for jury duty, they took us into the room we would be spending quite a bit of time in for the next month. I shuffled to the back row and stuck my head in a book (figuratively speaking). If I learned nothing else about the judicial system, it was that things move extremely slowly. I also learned that jurors can be lumped into one of three categories: the people who quietly read and occasionally make small talk, the people who don't read and quietly sit there seemingly doing nothing, and the people who don't read and love to hear the sound of their own voices. As you can probably imagine, I was in the first category. I think I read more during jury duty than I did my entire senior year in college. Anyway, there was this guy in my row who I absolutely couldn't stand. Of course he was the third type of person. In addition to loving the sound of his own voice, he was also a busybody and super nosy. Those are three traits I absolutely can't stand. Basically, he was my nemesis. For the sake of this blog, we'll call him Hal.
During jury duty one afternoon, we were on a break between cases, and things started back up earlier than we had been told they would. Some jurors weren't in the room, but there were enough people to vote on things, so it was fine. We heard 5 very quick cases; meanwhile, the door was locked. Anyone who was outside was stuck outside. I was in the room to hear cases, but Hal wasn't. This brought me great joy because I knew he would be in a tizzy about it. After hearing the cases, the stragglers were let back inside. Hal was indeed in a tizzy, and he came back and blurted out to me, "What'd I miss?" I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Just a few cases." He said, "Let me see your papers." (We could keep track of notes on the cases in personal folders.) And I was like, "No!" But he was obsessed. He finally wore me down and I showed him my papers for the 5 cases because he promised me he just wanted to get the case names and what the votes were. But then he started reading my notes and wouldn't give them back to me! If you know me well, you know I was ON FIRE. In a word, it was ridiculous. Finally he gave them back. He and I simply did not get along. I just have no tolerance for people like that.
So imagine my dismay when, five or so years down the road, I found myself walking into a lab to have my blood drawn for tests to try to figure out why I wasn't getting pregnant...and Hal (apparently a phlebotomist) was behind the desk. He took my paperwork, looked through it, and asked, "Don't I know you from somewhere?" *Sigh* "Yes, we were on jury duty together. We sat in the same row," I said. He then took my blood. He was pretty much the last person on earth I wanted there at that moment.
What I didn't know at the time was that I was in fact pregnant then (yay!). When you're pregnant, you get your blood drawn a lot, and since that lab was literally next door to my OBGYN's office, I saw Hal a lot in the next 9 or so months. As time went by and I saw Hal in a professional capacity, I started to hate him less, and I will begrudgingly admit that it was sort of nice to see a familiar face and chat with him briefly while having blood drawn.
Fast forward to a couple years, and I went back to that lab with Greta so she could have blood drawn for her lead test. If you haven't had the pleasure of holding a child while he/she is having that test done, let me tell you, it is AWFUL. First, this test was administered during the height of Greta's stranger-anxiety phase. Second, Hal pricked her finger (ow) and then basically milked it for 4 or 5 minutes while he raked her finger against a test tube (double ow). Needless to say, she was screaming her brains out. I said, "Wow, you must hate having to give this test." And then Hal said, "It's usually not bad. Most kids are good during it." WHAAAAA? Seriously?? I find that very hard to believe, but whatever. Jerk.
There are quite a few labs around town, so needless to say, I never went back, and when G or I need blood drawn, we go to one down the street. That had been my last Hal slighting...until today.
I had to go get a bunch of shipping package thingies, so I decided to go to Wal-Mart to get them because I am an idiot cheapskate. I run in, get what I need, and run out. From a distance, I can see there are two men having a conversation next to my car. I get closer and I can see that one of them is actually SITTING ON MY CAR. Who does that?? And as I get even closer, I see it is Hal! Get out! He realizes he is sitting on the car of the person who is approaching it and makes some stupid little remark. I make a semi-snotty remark in return, and I get out of there as quickly as possible. I don't think he recognized me. Or if he did, he didn't say anything. But, what the heck? Why is this guy cursing me? Why???

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