On Saturday, Curtis and I went to the grocery store for sandwich makings.
While waiting in the deli line, the smiliest woman I’ve ever seen turned to me and shouted, “HELLO!!!!”
I didn’t know this lady – or at least I didn’t recognize her – but I turned to her and shouted hello right back.
Then, still smiling like a fool, she shouted, “How are you!!?!”
“I’m good!” I said. “How are you!?”
She told me she was good, and then kept on staring and smiling at me. I was smiling right back. It was uncomfortable but at the same time familiar and heartwarming. I really wanted to keep our conversation going and to make her like me, so I stared right in her eyes and asked the only question I could think of.
“How are you?” I asked for the second time.
She paused for a moment, said “…I’m good,” and turned away. Curtis turned away too and even took a couple steps away from me. The great rapport I had built with this random lady disappeared in an instant, and I was left alone to think about how terrible I am at harmless social interaction.
Below is dramatization of the event. Dizzy plays the grocery store lady.
Dizzy studied at Juilliard.
You know when you go to the movies, the person you buy your ticket from always tells you to enjoy the show? And most of the time you just say thank you, but occasionally you’ll slip and tell them to enjoy the show too, even though you know they ain’t gon be watching the movie. Or someone will wish you a happy birthday and you’ll say, “You too!” You know when those things happen?
Those things are embarrassing, but there is something truly upsetting about asking someone the same question twice within a ten-second period. And when it’s a stranger in a deli line, there’s no explaining yourself. There’s no point in it. All that’s left to do is stand there and watch that stranger’s provolone cheese get sliced, knowing that at least one person in the world thinks you are crazy. Not jokey or funny crazy. Real, legitimate, this-girl-here-is-a-damn-kook crazy.