1 more day till Hilton Head...
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I met a crazy man at the grocery store the other nite while doing my vacation grocery shopping. Oh, he was extremely friendly and nice, in his mid to late 50's-maybe even 60, neatly dressed and all-but still, a nut. I was in the soda aisle and he came flying around the corner, looked at me and said breathlessly, "Hi!" like I had been waiting there to meet him. I looked up and smiled politely (because one of the most important things my Mom taught me is to always be polite and respectful, even to a crazy person...) and said, "Um, hi!" and went on about my soda shopping-still not really thinking he was crazy yet, just, uh, quirky. He proceeded to have an elaborate conversation with no one (or maybe me?) about the various flavors of Fresca and was delighted when he found the regular kind. He then said to me, "Over 4 dollars! Cripes!" and I agreed that it could be a bit pricey when not on sale (again, thanks to Mom, I can be most gracious to quirky folks by making meaningless small talk when called upon) and kind of tried to go on with my shopping. He stared at me a bit, then said, "You know, at [random drugstore for which I do not remember the name], it is $2.75" to which I added my helpful 2 cents by saying, "Well, you know Coke products are $1.75 at WalMart for the 12 packs right now" (true, by the way-I am a fountain of shopping knowledge-plus the WalMart cashier was trying to get me to buy some-does she work on commission?? I did not buy any, just saying) and realized I was not really going to get out of a conversation about soda with this man. He looked at me very intently like I had just said something unacceptable and said "But she doesn't want that-she wants this!" "Well, I know that's a Coke product so I was just mentioning it...." I sort of trailed off at that point because 1. I didn't know how much more I could really add to this interaction and 2. I didn't know who "she" is but it didn't seem like a good idea to upset her. "Well, no I have to get this-I didn't even know they still made it-I remember when it first came out" said Unusual Man. "Oh, me too-haha!" I replied and turned back to what I was doing (what was that anyway?) and he leaned over and said "And Cocoa Puffs!" What? This conversation was rapidly turning into a Mad Lib so I just smiled and made a polite "Um-hm"ish response and went about studying the diet cola very seriously as he said "Well, bye!" and marched off in his cowboy boots. He walked off and I chuckled to myself about his, um, quirkiness and how it is different here in the South and how my mom would've been floored by such a conversation (she still lives up North and does not embrace the whole "talk to everyone you see" Southern concept-even though you should still be nice to them if they do talk to you). Then, just as I was about to resume my shopping for real, he stopped, turned around and marched, very determined, right back to me and stopped. I looked up, through my burning, bloodshot, bespectacled pink-eyed eyes and he said "You know, any girl, when she smiles and her eyes light up, sparkles." I decided that maybe in fact I love him and he is not so much crazy as a gift from the Lord above (or a crazy loon and a big fat liar but that's neither here nor there) so I said "Thank you!" He nodded without so much as smiling and again marched off. It was an odd grocery shopping experience but kind of par for the course around here lately. It is a fine line that separates crazy from brilliant, frantic from fast-paced, panic from a healthy dose of caution. I've blown past that line and am currently crazy, frantic and panicking all at the same time. Damn vacation.