RICHMOND, B.C. – After seven years, local man Gary Alonzo still wakes up in a cold sweat, traumatized by the memory of that time he accidentally greeted someone he thought was his friend Jeff, but was in fact, a complete stranger.
“I just keep replaying it in my mind,” said Alonzo, visibly holding back the emotion of the traumatic incident that lasted maybe two-seconds. “I came up from behind, and I was convinced it was Jeff. I said “Hey Jeff!” real familiar like. And that’s when he turned around.”
Alonzo was then greeted by a man he’d never seen before in his life. According to Alonzo, that’s when the man replied with, “Who me? I’m not Jeff.”
“I was speechless. I just made an ass of myself. I think I said something like, “Oh, no. Oh sorry,” or something stupid like that,” recounted Alonzo, who has been undergoing counselling for two years to overcome the chronic embarrassment.
In the intervening years, Alonzo has been officially diagnosed with Post Traumatic Embarrassing Momentary Encounter Disorder. The condition is related to instances similar to Alonzo’s, like waving at someone who it turns out was waving at someone behind you. Doctors say there is no cure, but there is treatment, and symptoms include feeling like a total asshole.
“This kind of thing is all too common,” said Dr. Katy Yellin, psychiatry professor at University of Windsor. “Having to suffer that kind of awkward mistake, it’s a wonder how these people are able live with themselves afterwards.”
Alonzo had to take time off work, after being haunted by flashbacks whenever coworkers would greet him in the halls. Pretty soon he was avoiding everyone. Or if he did meet someone he’d ask what they will be wearing ahead of time, or make sure that any new friends he might make would have hideous scars or completely distinct pretentious affectations, like always wearing top hat. But at least now, he’s getting help.
At press time, the man Alonzo accidentally said hi to was wondering what the hell was wrong with that guy who thought he was Jeff seven years ago and why he was such a complete fucking idiot about it.