Every now an then I have a little cathartic moment–a revelation about myself, if you will. It’s surprising that at 35 years of age, I’m still learning about myself, but it’s true. Perhaps I’m not so much learning something new, so much as I am realizing it. Kind of like realizing that, without knowing it, every time CareerMom forces me to watch a movie with the likes of Brad Pitt, Will Smith or some other Hollywood hunk in it, when the “shirt off” scene finally appears, I’m scrutinizing his body as much as I would a woman’s, to see if he’s lost some muscle mass since his last shirtless film. Or whether being a dad has put a few more speedbumps on his chiseled form. Whatever, I just want to know if I’m holding up as well as he is. Most of the time, I’m disappointed.
But anyway, this past weekend, I discovered something else. For a few precious moments, I escaped from the whiney kids went out to run some errands. Somehow I ended up at Trader Joe’s. I don’t go there often because, while the place is great, it’s really geared for the person who buys food for the day; unlike myself, who bulk shops for groceries whenever possible.
We’ve been all a little blah around here lately, so I grabbed some fresh flowers and some nice Black Tea and headed up to the counter. I stood in line a couple of minutes as the shoppers in front of me chatted up the checkout guy. Finally it was my turn and I handed him my little basket and with my usual “eye avoidance,” I sidled over to the debit card reader. But, instead of just quietly bagging my stuff and letting me go, the checkout guy started talking to me.
“Oh, nice flowers. Great for a day like today.”
“Hmm, yeah they are nice,” I said.
“I’ve been wanting to try this stuff too, but it’s certainly a side dish and I’ve been waiting to find the right meat to have with it,” he said, referring to some spicy rice thing I’d picked up.
Quickly, I replied, “I’m going to have it with that Carne Asada steak. Should go well.”
I hoped that would end the conversation but it didn’t. And as we continued to speak, it occurred to me how much I dislike this banter. Not only does it make me terribly uncomfortable, but anyone who is this happy and perky, makes me suspicious.
Now folks, I have long known that I’m a “Glass is half empty” kinda guy, but this takes it to a whole new level. I mean, what kind of person looks for ulterior motives in someone who is being nice? I tell you what kind…the kind that clearly has issues.
Don’t get me wrong, I can, and do, act normal around other people. But most of the time, I have this internal monologue that’s saying, “RUN, FLEE! DO NOT LOOK THEM IN THE EYES OR THEY’LL SEE WHAT A FRAUD YOU ARE.”
Is that normal? I didn’t think so. And the dumb thing is, as much as I long for adult interaction, when I actually get it, I want to withdraw from it. Yeah, so I’m not OK, you’re not OK, the whole world is kinda weird.
Line forms to the left.