Day 39: You look like the kind of person who would know…

I don’t know if this happens too often to other people but I am constantly, constantly, approached by random strangers while I’m out shopping or running errands. Most times they’re asking questions. They range from “do you know where they hide the veggie burgers?” (at the end of the ice cream aisle, ma’am), to the oh-so-uncomfortable “do you know which tampons my wife might have been talking about?”. (Yes, true story. That was a  very awkward and slightly amusing conversation.) Just this weekend a lady stopped me in Joann Fabrics and said I looked the kind of person who would know where they keep the stuff to un-stick zippers. My first thought? Is my fly down?! (It wasn’t.) What makes a person look like they know that information? For the record, I don’t.

My most interesting encounter was on Thursday. I had ordered some Chinese food and planned to walk into Cato to kill some time while I was waiting. I was immediately joined by a frizzy haired woman in a flowery mu-mu type outfit who whisked me through the clothing store doors, whispering that she was about to get beat up. She frantically began to describe the confrontation she had moments earlier in Goodwill. Apparently she got into a heated political debate with a gentleman who hadn’t been able to find a job in the last two years. “And I told him, vote for Obama and you won’t have a job for another four more! So he said to me, do you want to take this outside? And I said, ‘sure’! And I had my fists ready!” (How she managed to escape unscathed, I’m not sure.)

But it didn’t end there. She followed me through the store for ten minutes, continuing a non-stop diatribe against Democrats, government interference, and citizen laziness. She took a breath and I dashed toward the shoes.

But, she found me, and the conversation turned toward education and her marriage: “My husband is dull. Terribly boring. He’s like a board. But he’s brilliant. Ask him anything. That’s why I’m with him.” Next, family: “I’m taking something to my daughter-in-law in New York when I visit next weekend. They don’t have Cato in that area of the state, and she likes to stand out. I always take her something. It’s usually on sale, but she doesn’t have to know!” (Guffawing laughter follows.) And then more family: “My other daughter-in-law, we don’t speak. She tried to kill my son! He called one day and said the doctor had found large amounts of arsenic in his system. She was poisoning him! There was a 1 million dollar life insurance policy in his name. She wanted the money, obviously. I don’t take anything to her when I visit. I have to be cordial to her because she’s the mother of my grandchildren, but I won’t eat anything she fixes!” 

I mumble perfunctory responses, adding a few obligatory gasps of astonishment and nods or shakes of the head. Finally, some glittery red top caught her eye on the clearance rack and I made a dash for it.

Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

And for the record, by the time I escaped and picked up my lunch, it was cold. I love Milford.

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