Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Clean-Up on Aisle 8

After you've been let down (in a rather big way) you tend to put a barrier around yourself that only a few people are allowed to try to get through to communicate with you. Your parents are one of them because they'll file a missing person's report if you don't talk to them for 24 hours. Your closest friends who are willing to deal with the snot you've left on their shoulder and the 2am phone calls. And the pizza delivery person because they're working for a higher power obviously. That goes for the woman in the drive-thru who hands you your morning coffee. She's ok to push that barrier as well.  

But then, out of nowhere, something just clicks inside of you. It could be while you're driving on a long, winding country road with the windows down. It could be when your taking a walk along a beach with the salty breeze sweetly kissing your face. Or it could be in a packed Kroger on a Sunday night as you curse the shopping carts that are stuck together and your T-Rex arms can't pry them apart. Naturally, you can pin the third scenario on me. Then someone comes up to you, pulls a cart from the line next to you and says, "Here you go" in a thick southern accent. You also notice he's wearing a Yankees hat. (Well, if that's not a deadly combination you might as well just put a cupcake in his hand that says "for you" and put a fork in me.) With red cheeks I thanked him and walked into the store realizing I have a cart but one with squeaky wheels and the inability to turn. And a cute boy in the store... 

Now one: please keep in mind that I am not a "girly-girl." If I'm going to buy groceries an hour before Sunday Night Baseball starts you can most likely bet I have no make-up on, I'm wearing a team shirt and my hair resembles Mulan. What you see is what you get. I don't think my cheese sticks are judging my appearance as I throw them into the cart. One does not go to Kroger to pick up men. Apparently though, my logic is flawed because I was advised by my best friend, as we ran into each other in the protein bar aisle, that "Sunday night is a great night to meet boys!!" Thanks for the memo friend. Really. Perhaps I would have put a hat on at least? 

I caught her up on my run-in with Yankees-Cart guy and she insisted that I find him and talk to him. I think I physically turned the color of whipped vanilla frosting. I couldn't believe what she had suggested. I told her I didn't see a ring so perhaps he was single. We tried to come up with some lines to "break the ice" like... "So, you come here often?" "Did you know that the Downy Dryer Sheets are on sale this week?" "So, how 'bout them double coupons?" It was her husband that suggested, "Why don't you give him your number and tell him to call you if he ever wants to watch a Yankees game?" Bingo. If there is anything I can talk about with anyone... it's baseball. 

I walked up each and every aisle. My hands shook and my stomach had butterflies. I creatively hid the cat food in the bottom portion of the cart (the less he knows the better). I finally found him in the canned meat aisle. Great. Put the uncomfortable vegetarian next to a whole bunch of SPAM and have her start yapping to the guy in the Yankees hat. I took a deep breath... pulled my cart up next to his... and said: "So, big game tonight against the Red Sox huh? I think it will be a good one." To which he replied, "Yeah, the season's over for the team. I haven't seen a lot of games but they don't seem to be doing that well. I might watch it."

*** ATTENTION: Do not wear a Yankees hat unless you are a Yankees fan. And by fan I mean you know, love, adore, care about and have faith in the team. If you're not sitting at home flapping your damn arm wings for angels to come into the outfield and give a helping hand, then please remove the hat. Now. ***

I took the insulting comment about my boys in stride and made my move. I handed him my card (that's what grown-ups do I hear) and said, "Well, if you ever do think you want to watch a Yankees game and want company let me know." Smooooth. Like buttah. And then I attempted to, as quickly as possible because the color of my face was changing at a rapid pace, leave the aisle with my squeaky, non-steerable cart. But the cart had other plans. It swerved itself into the row of tuna cans on the shelf and knocked them off onto the floor. Without even looking back I booked it out of the aisle and headed straight to the checkout line. 

Needless to say, the season is over for my boys. And I never got that phone call from the Kroger guy to watch a game. But as I try to rationalize it I come up with a few "good things" that came out of that horrifyingly embarrassing experience: 1) He is a poser in a Yankees hat and I don't need to spend my time with those who don't believe in baseball miracles. 2) He eats canned meat. 3) I actually talked to a guy with the thought of asking him out. I let that barrier down a bit. I stepped up to the plate, took a swing and struck out. Well, actually I hit a ton of tuna cans and ran home. But in the end it was technically a homerun because I realized that maybe I'm ready to play the game again.

And there are plenty of fish in the sea.

(You see what I did there?!? Tuna cans on the floor? Guy not calling probably because of said tuna cans on the floor... get it? Fish? Sea? Guys? My attempt at wit. Take it or leave it.)