The other day I braved the commissary. It was a payday weekend. Never a good time to go. But, alas, there were no chips in the house, so that meant we had no food. And so, I braved the commissary. People usually talk to me while I shop. I am not sure what is, but I invite conversation. Usually the person needs help.
“Can you reach that for me?”
“Do you know how to make pulled pork? Should I use this cut?”
“Do you know where they place the crushed tomatoes? They changed the order of this blasted commissary every time I come in here.”
These are all questions that I have had. Along with many others. Scott says it is because I am approachable. Whatever. But today took the cake. Today someone sang to me. Oh, he didn’t mean anything by it. He had been singing up the aisles as we traveled to no one in particular. I assumed he was happy, but I was hoping we would soon part ways. I got a bit ahead of him in the store, but I was soon stuck in the foreign foods looking for gluten free teriyaki sauce. (They don’t carry it.) As he came around the corner, I turned to him and gave him a little smile. He took it as an invitation and sang a bit just for me. How could I be so lucky today? He didn’t sing long. He said nothing to me, and soon moved along. That was the last I saw and heard of him.
I came home and told my husband. He just shook his head. Only you, babe, he said, only you.
This kind of thing happens to me a lot. Not just at the commissary. I have heard so many personal details of people’s lives that I fail to remember them all. I am not sure what it is that makes people want to talk to me, but it happens. A lot.
Recently I was pumping gas. The whole family was in the car. Scott is normally the go-to put gas in the car guy, but he was forbidden by me that day. As I finished and was getting in the car, the man at the next pump opened conversation. He was frustrated with the gas prices. In fact, the day before they had been so much less! How in the name of whatever can the prices jump so much over night? We all know there wasn’t a gas delivery. It has to be a conspiracy. He is on a limited income, after all. How was he expected to deal with such drastic differences? I don’t know, I replied trying to shut my car door. But he went on. I couldn’t just shut the door in his face, could I? I suppose I could have, but instead I smiled and listened for a couple more minutes. After he wore himself out, I told him to have a good day and shut the door. Freckle Face asks, “What was THAT all about?” Scott replies, “People just like to talk to your mom.”
Another time I was at Home Depot getting a key made. My last name was attached to the key. The woman making the key took note of my name and mentioned that her adoptive last name was the same as mine. This led into a long story of how she was adopted, the lovely people that adopted her, the search for her birth mother and drug addiction. People tell me things.
Another time my husband and I were having a nail taken out of a tire at the local tire shop. While we were waiting a woman came in to inquire about new tires. She was loud. Very loud. It was nearly impossible to avoid listening to her conversation. She called her husband. I accidentally made eye contact with her, and we smiled at each other. “You know what I am talking about right?” she says to me. It was in reference to husbands. I told her that I did. This led into a conversation about her husband, her teens, who are twins, learning to drive and her exuberant Long Island personality. This led into that yes, she does have blue eyes even though she is African American (I honestly hadn’t noticed. We were too far apart.) Her mother was Irish. She was a lovely woman. She talked to me a little more and invited me to her party. I politely declined, and we wished each other a good day. My husband laughed all the way home.
And recently while waiting in the doctor’s office a woman walked in with two small children. Adorable children. They were probably 18 months old. The mom let go of the little girl’s hand, and she immediately walked over to me. I said hello and asked he how she was doing. She tried to crawl onto my lap. I am not so brave that I will pick up other people’s children, but I did pat her back. Not to be outdone, her twin brother walks over and tries to crowd in. They were both very intent on getting my attention. They were the sweetest babies. The mom didn’t seem to mind that they were hanging out with me, so I chatted with them a bit. I have to say that I loved it. I was a little sad when they were called back.
I must have a familiar face. People are always sure that we have met somewhere before even though I know for sure that we have not. I think it is because I am just your average girl. I don’t mind that people tell me things or talk to me. Sometimes I am in a hurry, and I not sure when I can cut them off before it is considered rude. I don’t usually say much. Most of the time I just smile and nod.
But I can honestly say that it was the first time that anyone other than my husband has sung to me. I felt that it should be noted.
A note for November 2nd: I originally wrote this post a year ago and never posted it. But tonight I was telling my husband about my recent encounter and I remembered this post. Friday I was waiting at a stop light. The guy in the car next to me, also waiting at said light, reached across the passenger seat of his car to roll down his window. He got my attention and asked me if he was going the right way to get to the mall. I told him that he was. I am not sure how it wasn’t plainly obvious, but whatever. He said thanks and rolled up his window. My daughter looked at me and said, “only you, Mom. Only you.” I laughed and said, “But you have to admit it makes life interesting.”
I really should write all my encounters down. I will have to tell you about the lady I met on the plane sometime.