Thursday, April 27, 2006
I got off work today and headed to the store. I was checking out some produce in the fresh foods section, minding my own business. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the guy next to me fondling a bunch of asparagus. He turned it end over end, pushed at the stem, flicked at the heads, and overall made it reasonably apparent that he wasn't certain just how to determine whether or not he'd picked up a decent bundle of edible mini-trees. Suddenly, he stopped, looked up from his inspection, and asked, "Are you single?"
Eyebrows up, I shot him a half-cocked smile. "Well, yes," I answered, waiting for the terminal carry-over.
He nodded, pursed his lips, and went back to groping his asparagus, seeming completely engrossed in determining if that was, indeed, the most perfect bunch of the group. After a few seconds, it became obvious he wasn't going to say anything more. I shrugged, dropped a few potatoes into a sack, and wandered off.
On my way out, I was walking behind this tottering old broad, leaning near as heavily on the basket as she was on her walker, which was nestled beneath the push-handle. Trying to do the right and noble thing, I dropped my sacks in the trunk of the buggy and headed back across the aisle to help her out.
She stopped, smiled at me, and said, "This is one of the few things I can do any more on my own." I smiled back, nodded, and walked back to my car.
I was still smiling whistfully as I pulled up the ramp to get off the highway, thinking of the woman and her fragility and tenacity. A semi-truck barrelled past me on the perpendicular road, effectively snapping me out of my reverie with a couple blasts from his air-horn. Pressed against the window was the trucker's hand, first-finger and pinkie up, thumb extended in the classic sign of "I love you!" Grinning ear to ear, I beeped my little VW back at him and waved.
All-in-all, a strange and interesting day.