A friend of mine had a baby not too long ago. She has another child that is a little older. Boys. Adorable at this age…for the most part. I mean, every child is a head spinner every now and then, right? I’ve never seen it with her kids, but I’m sure she could tell us stories. Anyway, they’re just kids. And kids will be kids.
I saw her the other night and she and I had a laugh (okay, maybe I was laughing and she was trying to tend to her child AND not strangle me while I laughed). We were at a surprise birthday party for my niece, and we had arrived at the moment when the birthday girl drives up to the house and then takes SEVEN HOURS to come inside. You’ve been to a surprise party, right?
So the house FULL of people are all doing their best to be quiet, and of course the young ones become fussy. Sure, why wouldn’t they? NOBODY is paying them any attention, there is probably sweet stuff like cupcakes and cookies around that for some reason can’t be touched yet and everyone is doing the “shsshhhh….”
Like that helps…
So my niece finally comes in…we all yell SURPRISE…everyone is happy, joyous and gay…the party starts…and after a solid five minutes of me trying to help entertain the boys to keep them quiet (with LITTLE luck) they finally become stoic, silent creatures. Figures, right?
But toddlers aren’t the only ones to pick their moments of mischievousness….
I know this because one day I was roaming the aisles of the grocery store and came across a gentle, elderly man standing quietly. He was staring at the condiments at the far end. He didn’t appear to have noticed me as I approached. I smiled, stood next to him while I looked for what I was looking for. Neither of us said a word. And then he grabbed a bottle of Tapatio and dropped it into my basket…
I looked at him, I looked at the basket, I looked back at him. NOTHING. He was standing there like he was still looking for something. So, I did the clear my throat thing…
“Ahem…excuse me. I think you just put your Tapatio into my cart.”
He smiled apologetically, and then pulled the Tapatio out. He mumbled something, I responded “No worries”. End of encounter.
Or so I thought.
Two aisles over was packed. Apparently there was a shortage of soups in the world because everyone was in my aisle. It was like a NASCAR race, carts were rubbing and jockeying for position. Summertime Mom is not to be trifled with when she has kids with her and she’s shopping. So it was a full house of the Housewives of Los Angeles County, me and this gentle, little old man.
The old man shuffled over and stood right in front of me. I laughed to myself then did the grocery two-step to the side so I could see. I was looking for Veggie Broth, not an easy find. I looked down to check my list again, I looked up…BOOM. Little old guy standing in front of me. Sure, a second ago he was a gentle, elderly man. Now he’s “little old guy”. I was starting to wonder. I cleared my throat again.
I got the ¼ head turn. I laughed. GAME ON.
I found my Veggie Broth while staring over the L.O.G.’s shoulder. Now I had to decide my tactic. Do I give him the “Insensitive, I Think All Old People Can’t Hear” routine, the laid back “Scuse me Bro” routine or the Bump and Run??
I decided on a combo pack. A Presidential Bump and Run. Give the bump, offer a pardon, then run. Not as courteous as the Bro, not as insensitive as the Shout. Somewhere in the middle. Let’s the intended target know they’re in your way, but still offers some minor apology. But anyway, where was I?
Oh, yeah. The L.O.G. I swore I heard him chuckle. Which of course made me laugh. The old man didn’t have a cart, and was manhandling a tin of coffee. He had no business in the soup aisle. He had his laugh, I had mine. We were even. Yeah, right.
I swear the old guy planned it. I had spent another ten minutes gathering my goods and was ready to leave. From a distance I could see there was a lone “Self Checkout” station empty. My heart jumped. I would be scanning my own goods and on my way in no time. But I was foiled!! The little old guy jumped in front of me before I had a chance to make the station. I think he had been shuffling earlier to conserve his energy for that last dash…he moved so quick.
Well played old man, well played.
I would love to say that I returned the mischievousness and got even with the old man. I didn’t get the chance to one up him, but karma did step in to help. While I grabbed the next available station and scanned through my items, the little old guy was stuck with a broken machine, waiting for a clerk to walk over to help him with his one can of coffee. From across the kiosk I gave him a wink and a smile and the old guy smiled back.
Well played karma…well played.