I'm just about to
get off from work after a very long, trying, hard
day. I catch sight of someone who has
the bad habit of ambushing "familiar faces" and holding them
hostage for the duration of their unwanted, unnecessary
conversation and attention. With my
luck, on the way out the door, I am inevitably, and
expectantly, stopped by the pest. Where
is Terminex when you need them?! She
hollers for me in a booming voice, from way across the other
side of the store, assaulting my ears not because of the volume
of her voice, but because she makes it known to the world that
she knows both me and my name. Nice way
to add insult to injury. So, she hustles
my way, and I prepare myself as best I can, already tensing up,
due to the impending confrontation! Life
is sometimes spiteful, for it seems every time you want to get
something accomplished, and work at making it happen, something
or someone comes long and deters you.
Always. For it's all about "convenient"
As she is talking to me, my gaze lands
everywhere but on her. It feels like I
am suspended in a block of ice, watching everything, but not
able to experience it. I am suspended,
life going on, and we both have literally stopped in the middle
of the walkway, passing couples and small-unit families, edging
past with quiet '" 'scuse me" s. She
leans in close, and I can smell the poisonous mix of alcohol
and garlic coming off her in huge waves.
My nose begins crying, running as if on cue.
I look around as if a box of Kleenex will appear out of
thin air, because isn't it supposed to?
After a long period of empty "yes" es and
"uh-huh" s, I nod my head to signal good-bye.
She tries hanging on to whatever it is she thinks we
have. What it is, I couldn't tell you,
for it sure isn't a connection! I try
pulling away, her grip slipping, and she has no choice but to
let go, disappointment flickering across her face. For a moment I feel bad. But
only for a moment. Then, I feel sorry
for her, and that soon turns into acceptance -- me accepting
the fact that in life there are roles to play; some people are
the "annoyed", and some are the "annoyer".
Some people are tolerated because they have to be, and
some people, everyone dislikes…themselves
included!! But, that's the way the
cookie crumbles, and that's the way life goes.
And I soon get on my way now, awkwardly waving bye to
her as she bids me farewell overzealously.
As I turn away and head for the border, I
realize for the 1st time that I really don't know
her. She has only spoken to me on 2
occasions before, and that was to say "hey" and "how are you
doing today?" So much for carrying my
mom's lessons on into adulthood, that childhood adage: 'don't
talk to strangers' thrown right out the window.
It's funny how if you share but one meaningless word
with someone who happens to see you every other day, they feel
they know you, like they changed your diaper when you were a
baby. You can call me rude, call me
mean, or call me an enabler, but it is what it is. I think about that on my way out, and laugh quietly
to myself. At last!!