Long ago I had a good friend that I worked with for about four or five years. We hung out after work and enjoyed ourselves with a few laughs, a few beers, and a few games of darts or pool on many an occasion. At the time we were both in graduate school. We eventually finished our work and moved on to new positions, ready and eager to face the next stages of our lives. From time to time we crossed paths at various conferences and gatherings and always made time to grab a lunch or dinner together to catch up. Then a stretch developed where I did not see him for quite a few years.
One day at work, I was coming into my building just as a small group of visitors was leaving. My old friend was part of this group. As I was holding the door we made eye contact as he said thanks, yet no recognition dawned in his eyes. He did not register who I was. As he was involved in shop talk, I did not chase him down to say hello. I figured that, perhaps, he would stop by my office when he got a chance or that I might encounter him again in the hallway. But I did not see him again during his visit.
Another several years have gone by now since that incident and I have not seen my old friend in the interim. However, just a few days ago, essentially the same scenario played itself out again. I was entering into a building at work and passed my old friend. Yet when he showed no signs of recognition again, I let the moment go. I could tell that I was not being snubbed or ignored. I guess it was just a trick of time.