standing on line at the Whole Foods prepared foods counter asking for one faux
chicken breast when the man standing next to me asks me, “Have you had those
“Yes,” I answer.
they?” he asks.
“Good,” I answer. I would have said more but I already don’t
“I guess you’re the only one in your family who likes them,” he says, “Seeing
as how you’re only buying one.”
“My husband is out of town and my son is
eating out with his friends tonight,” I answer.
I want to punch myself for giving him so much information, but I knew
he would have squeezed it out of me sooner or later anyway. I always end up
telling everyone everything.
He smiles as
though he thinks I’m lying, which makes me even madder at myself because now I
know I’m going to continue talking.
But I don’t
start spewing right away.
I wait until
I’m sure he’s following me all around the store.
Just as I’m
taking some Organic Homestyle Tortillas out of the freezer case, he asks me, “You
think those are really organic?”
“I do, yes,” I say. “I don’t think they
can write organic unless it’s actually organic.”
“Organic what though? They’re tortillas.”
“I guess the flour is organic,” I say. “I’m
the only one in my family who really cares about that sort of thing. There are four people in my family. Altogether.
I also have a daughter. She’s in college. And we have a dog. Yellow Lab.
She’s on a raw diet. “
minutes later, he’s at the checkout line with me and I’m very tempted to switch
lines, even though it’s almost my turn.
The more questions he asks me, the more I think he thinks I made up my
whole family and the more I defend myself, the more I hate him. I keep looking all around me as though I find
everything in the store fascinating.
Every FEED bag, every magazine, everything and anything but him. It’s almost like I’m seeing for the first
time, that’s how much my head is moving.
place is expensive,” he says, looking at a container of nuts that I’m
I want to
tell him that it’s wrong to talk to strangers and that no one likes it, but
instead, I sneeze, pee in my pants, and then drop everything I’m holding.
I can’t even
bend down to pick anything up because I’m wearing thin, cotton, drawstring
shorts that show everything. And I’ve
peed quite a bit.
I don’t know
what to do so I sort of turn my back to the checkout counter and slide down to
pick everything up, but of course he bends down with me and there we are, face
to face, him delighted that we’re forced to continue our relationship and me
mortified that this horribly annoying person, whom I detest, will judge me for
having just peed in my pants out of the blue.
“I can pick up everything myself,” I say.
problem,” he says.
I say, a little firmer.
He puts his
hands up and backs away as I fling everything back on the counter facing
sideways. I manage to check out without turning around and try to tuck my hips
under as I glide toward the door at an astonishing pace.
As soon as I
reach the door it starts pouring, and once again I thank Helen Todd for forcing
me to believe in Jesus Christ. Clearly,
he’s watching over me. If I can get
myself outside, without anyone seeing what I’ve done, I can just stand out
there for a few seconds until I’m totally soaked and the whole thing will just
blend in. I walk in front of my cart
pulling it behind me and rush out into the rain, which, of course, stops almost
immediately. So I sit down on a soaking
wet bench and say, out loud to no one, “Oh, God, I sat on this wet bench!”
As I’m running
to my car, I pee a tiny bit more (one day you’ll understand) and then take a
beach towel from the trunk of my car and sit down on it. As I’m pulling out of my spot, the man I hate
walks by. He doesn’t acknowledge me or anything. He just walks on looking straight ahead. At first I don’t think he sees me, but then I
realize he definitely looked right in my window. He’s just acting like he doesn’t see me.
just like that, I don’t hate him anymore.
I like him. I think it’s because he
knows what I did, but he’s purposely ignoring me so I won’t feel ashamed. He’s
a good, good man and I never should have treated him the way I did. After all, the only thing he was looking for
was some pleasant food shopping conversation, a food buddy, if you will. And I
treated him like a bum. And then, when I
was down on my luck, he had the decency to walk by my car without laughing, or
pointing, or calling me a baby, or anything.
realized how different the world is once you’ve peed in your shorts. It’s a very humbling experience. Of course I wouldn't want to do it everyday, but perhaps every time I leave the house I should
imagine that my whole entire ass is showing or something. I think I’d come
across as a much friendlier person.