Tuesday, December 13, 2011

True-honest-to-god-conversation in a Walgreens

I took my prescription in to be filled. While it was being prepared, I wandered around picking up things that you always end up picking up in Walgreens:

Christmas paper plates and napkins (Yes, Bing, I know we use our real plates)
Plastic spoons for my work coffee (Yes, Bing, I know that I should bring a silver spoon to work and wash it daily instead of tossing plastic ones)
Halloween candy that is now dirt cheap (Candy lasts forever, doesn't it and they are the perfect size to put in Liv's lunch)
Antibacterial hand sanitizer (If you heard my secretary cough, you would too)
Computer screen wipes
Those Energel pens that I like (Made in JAPAN, Bing!)
Creamer for my coffee (It was peppermint mocha...)
Toothpaste (it was on the clearance rack...and ok...I usually refuse to buy Gleem on principle because I hate things that are spelled incorrectly, but it was a buck)
A new squeak toy for Socks (because...Bing...I KNOW you confiscated it because you complained about that weird sound it made...too bad for you...he is getting a new one...c'mon...he LOVED that toy)

An older woman came up to me and looked up at me intently.

First of all, I am barely five feet tall...it is rare when another adult looks UP at me.

Also, she was elderly and I thought she needed help. But, no. She was just chatty. She held up two Russell Stover Santa bars.

"Do you like these chocolate bars?" she asked me

She was looking at me as if the answer was very important.

I glanced at the candy bar.

Well, I told her, I DO like Russell Stover but it is a marshmallow one and I have to be in a certain mood for marshmallow filling...

She nodded sagely. "Well, I just wanted to tell you that there is a Russell Stover Outlet on 72nd Street that will sell you this for about half the cost."

I smiled and thanked her. Started to turn away.

No dice.

She grabbed my arm. Generally, I dislike being touched by anyone who isn't a friend or family member, but I make exceptions for old people and children.

"Don't give to the Salvation Army bucket outside the store," she whispered. "The guy dressed up like Santa in front of it? He smells like cigarettes and beer and I think that is a disgraceful thing for children to see. A SANTA that stinks of liquor and cigs. Shame."

She shook her head, mournfully.

I nodded, agreeing.

"You know what I think?" she asked me.

I shook my head. Smiled indulgently.

"I think you used to be a real looker. What are you, about 50 or 55?"

I told her 53.

She nodded, as if she had just performed a particularly good parlor trick.

"You have an Irish look about you, that really pretty skin," she said, smiling. "Yes, I think you were a really pretty young thing a few years ago."

I smiled, tiring of this. I think she needed to say that I was a really pretty old thing now.

She didn't.

"Are you a drinker? Because Irish people tend to be alkies," she said, her claw fingers still on my coat.

My smile faded. I said that no, I was not much of a drinker. Didn't bother to add any more.

I said I needed to get going.

"Did you used to be a floozy when you were younger?" she asked, those eyes intent on mine.

Enough already.

I told her that I was done talking to her. Goodbye now.

As I walked towards the prescription counter to see if my scrip was ready, she called after me,

"God, you are such an alky bitch. All that Irish in her. Just look!" She had found a new victim, an older gentleman in a long dark coat.

How do they always find me? Just tell me that. Please.


Anonymous said...

Oh......my god. When i saw your title, i thought this post would be like the page we have in the newspaper at uni- "Conversations on campus"- where they write down the best convo's they've heard all week ("It's ok,it's ok, it's ok.....the hedgehog has been fed!" "I didn't need friends in primary school....i had my snails"). Yes. Yes, you do attract weirdos. Maybe it's the inevitable flip side of something good in your life. You have a lovely daughter and partner and a gift with words....but you also get crazy ladies in WalMart (which i guess is like the US version of tescos?) Can't believe she called you that....aren't old ladies meant to be sweet and wise and grandmotherly?

JohnD said...

Rhonda (my wife) works in a Older Persons Mental Health Unit - only 12 beds and short stay, a "Get'em in, re-medicate'em, stabilise'em, re-house'em" type Unit. Lots of Medical as well as Psychiatry. Anyhow, occassionally I call in and visit her, have morning tea with her. Today, she forgot to take her lunch and as I was going that way I dropped it off to her!

Yep! I get'em too! All the old ladies grab hold of me when I arrive in the Unit and I get everything from "Call the police! They've locked me up in here and stolen my home!" to "Geez, what a looker. Bet you were a 'real turk' when you were younger!" as they cling to my arm. It always takes me at least five minutes to get from the security door to the staff room (a whole 10 yards away!) LOL!

sybil law said...

That's awesome. When crazy old people bother me, I like to tell them something shocking, like "I love Satan!"

e said...

Hahaha! OMG, my grandmother came back from the other side and is accosting people in a Walgreens on the prairie!

Sorry, Maria. Probably my mom kicked her out of heaven and now she's wandering around being annoying as hell.

I'll do what I can to have her reeled back in...

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Oh, god, this is scarier than it is funny. Damn. I bet she votes, too.

Before I met Flip, whom I married at 53, (he was 40,) I briefly dated a guy who once said, "I bet you were really beautiful when you were young." I stared at him in disbelief, which he took for grateful confirmation. Practically giving himself high fives, he prodded, "You were, weren't you?"

I think your encounter is proof that you don't have to be young to be a bimbo.

jen@ living a full life said...

Was she on line for her dementia medication? Sounds to me someone needs to write her a prescription for some happy pills.

Sorry you had to go thru that.

Part of me feels sorry for the old woman she sounds more than a bit off.

But i'm thinking I probably would have been upset if she did that to me, because regardless it's just plain hurtful!

Fenstar de Luxe said...

oh I empathise, I really do. Coz the same bloody thing happens to me all the time!!!

Earth Muffin said...

Wow. Just...wow.

LL Cool Joe said...

Ha ha. I bet the "used to be a real looker" pissed you off! Charming.

No one dares to talk to me!

Anonymous said...

I think there are a lot of people out there living on the ragged edge. There is a man who lives in a particular part of our neighborhood, rumored to be homeless, who is obviously challenged, both mentally and physically. On one of our encounters in his part of the neighborhood he told me he was hungry and asked me if I had any food. I didn't, with me, nor did I have any money to give him. I asked him if he could wait, and if he could, I would go an get something. He did, and so I did.

The next time I encountered him, he was in my part of the neighborhood, about 10 blocks away from where I normally saw him. He was wandering down the middle of my street, stopping every three or four steps, to look around him. To me, he appeared disoriented or obviously lost. I watched him for about two blocks. If he continued on, in two blocks further he would hit our town's main street through the downtown area, and would encounter lots of traffic. I decided to go talk to him and see if I could assist him. As I began talking to him, he became very agitated and aggressive, and began yelling at me and calling me names and words I didn't even know existed. I reminded him of our encounter a couple of weeks before and the food I had given him, but he seemed to have no recollection of the event. It was obvious I was not going to be able to talk to him, and then I began to fear for any encounters he would have with other people, and perhaps neighborhood kids. I reluctantly decided to call the police, and let them know he was headed for main street. This represents only one such incidence in my neighborhood; there are several people who who are struggle one way or another. It is hard to be a member of society and not be pulled in to such encounters.

Ambrosia said...

Is it odd that my first thought when she mentioned the Salvation Army guy was, "Oh God, please tell me she's not talking about Charlie!!" People of any age can, obviously, be very judgmental.