When one of my US nephews was about 3 or 4, he saw his preschool teacher in Walmart. Normally outgoing, confident, and very fond of his teacher, his first instinct was to hide - she wasn't meant to exist out of school, and he was completely thrown by her presence in the real world.
Yesterday I knew how he felt. I was in Starbuck's in town with a friend, and Nurse Perfect from my old clinic walked in. I suppose it wasn't all that unexpected - I did know that I live between the clinic and her home, because she once offered to drop some drugs off for me on her way home, and my town has a Saturday market and a couple of other attractions that make it worth the occasional visit.
I don't know if she saw me, and even if she did, I don't know if she recognised me - my face wasn't the thing she was usually looking at when I saw her, and the part of me she is most familiar with isn't usually on display in a coffee shop. Even so, and even though I loved her when I was going through treatment, my face started to burn and I sank lower in my chair and had to mumble excuses to my friend about how hot it was getting next to the window.
I wonder what the correct etiquette is here in buttoned-up Britain when you bump into your ex-IVF nurse when she's off duty...?