I'm good friends with a female lawyer whom I've known for 20 years and whose office is down the hall from mine. We have this game where, when I spot her walking down the hall on her way to the restroom or elevator, I whistle at her and she turns around and waves instead of ignoring me as good ladies used to be taught to do.
Last week, I was walking out to my car in the parking lot when I saw my friend standing at the door of a car talking to someone. I did the old wolf whistle, but she didn't hear me and turned and started walking into the parking lot. I walked faster so as to catch up with her and whistled again when I was close enough so that I was sure she could hear me. Instead of the usual response, she picked up her pace, and then I realized, "Oh, my God! That is not who I thought it was." Then the dilemna: What do I do? Do I yell out to the retreating back, "I take back the whistle. You're not who I thought you were?" But that might only compound the embarassment as it would imply that the person was not attractive enough to be whistled at. Do I just try to slink in to my car and get out of the parking lot before she gets to hers so she doesn't see who the wolf was? I tried to do the later, but I didn't get slinked out of the parking lot quickly enough.
Last evening as I was leaving work, I got on the elevator and who should be on it except the object of my whistling last week. In one of those "blink decisions" described by Malcolm Gladwell (see post below) I decided to confess rather than pull my raincoat collar over my face and try to slink out. "I'm sorry I whistled at you last week," I said. "I'm really not a wolf. I thought you were someone I knew from my floor." She just smiled and said, "No offense taken," and as the elevator door opened, we went our separate ways. But I didn't change my resolution from last week. I will never ever whistle at anyone ever again. (Well, maybe if I'm really, really sure that I know them.)