We'll all seen people with sweatshirts or tee-shirts that say 'ask me about my grandchildren.' I at some point in the past unknown to me have been fitted with one that says 'tell me about anything-I don't mind.'
Sunday I wound up behind a fellow carrying a lot of stuff in his bare hands, without benefit or a shopping cart or a basket. I've had that happen, where I get ambushed in the baked goods by freshly made oatmeal and raisin cookies while I sort of have my hands already full (A reach exceeds grasp kind of moment). Have there been times I've parked the item I originally came into the store to get and bought a lot of other stuff, taken it all out to the car and then returned for the original item? Yes, guilty as charged.
Not sure what happened with this guy. He was pushing a bag of charcoal briquettes in front of him but did not seem to have any meat you would normally associate with grilling in his hands (and I don't care to imagine where else he might have put it). I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I've never been hijacked by briquettes when I'm Lost in the Supermarket, so I didn't have the highest regard for this fellow traveler on the Big Blue Marble.
When he started mumbling, from where I was behind him (I scrupulously enforce that ATM space rule when I'm in line. It will never be my hot breath you feel on your neck and vice versa) I thought he was talking to the scandal magazines alongside the gum and candy. One of the most sobering aspects of growing old is how, as I've aged, less and less of the headlines or pictured celebrities mean anything to me at all.
The fellow in front of me wasn't talking to Me, as it happened. I looked up to realize, as he stacked his stuff (and '12 Items or less' became a suggestion, exactly when? I missed that memo) as high as he could on the smallest possible amount of space on the conveyor belt, he was actually talking at me. There was a reasonable amount of frantic head nodding and eye-blinking, not a lot of contact, which was of no help at all in understanding a single word of whatever he was, or wasn't, saying.
All the while the cashier was scanning his stuff, he had his back to her, addressing me. I always get these guys so I just bided my time. When she announced the total, I had to point him, using the smile and nod technique (and NO sudden movements) in her general direction so that he realized the ride was just about done.
Of course, he wasn't prepared to pay and went through his pockets looking for cash, paper and coins, before defaulting to a credit card, shuffling off with enough plastic bags to choke a landfill all the while jabbering away to anyone (else) who made eye contact.
When I handed the cashier my sole item, she remarked that she hadn't seen me 'in here with that guy before' as if I made it a practice to collect strangers in the night. I thought about telling her just that and then decided silence, in my case, was golden. Besides, if I dawdled, I'd be late for the Anonymous and Like It That Way BBQ, and that would never do.