Most of Saturday was spent with Alisha while she did some big girl shopping. You know, boring shit like housewares and groceries. Mostly I just got in the way, although she did force me to help her stow a heavy shelf in the bottom of the cart at Target. It was funny (to me) because I was basically just touching it with my fingertips while she did all the grunt work.
While standing across from an acreage of paper towel choices, we witnessed quite possibly the funniest thing since miscegenation: A mom-type squeezed past us with her cart, followed by her (I’m guessing) 4- or 5-year-old son who was erratically pushing his cart, if a cart is really his wheelchair-bound grandma. That sight in itself was mildly amusing, because the kid kept skidding the wheels into the sides of the aisle. But then suddenly the mother bellows, I mean full-on unleashes the wrath of nine generations of pissed-off mothers, “Michael! That is NOT FUNNY!” because apparently Michael decided to turn granny’s wheelchair into a New for 2009 ride at the county fair, complete with sparking wheels and popping bolts, and nearly toppled her. And Michael, while his mother is coating his face with a sheen of scolding-saliva, is doing this unrepressed high-pitched giggle, like he knew what he did was wrong but it was just so goddamn funny.
I couldn’t control it. I was dying so hard on the inside that I had to back into the nearest aisle, lean over a shelf and laugh into my folded arms. Then I happened to catch Alisha’s eye, and she looked like she was going to pee herself as well. I REALLY want there to be a reenactment of that for the next Hover Round commercial. “Don’t let THIS happen to YOU.” It could be the next best thing since “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
Somewhere between the bath aisle and toiletries, Alisha was on the prowl for measuring cups. As we’re standing there, a couple encroached on our personal space. The woman part of the couple saw something on the other side of Alisha and let out some high-pitched exclamation that only those fluent in kitchenware can understand as she reached across us to get a closer look. Catching herself, she looked over at us and apologized for being rude, which saved her from becoming an entry in Alisha’s Death To You notebook.
Her husband immediately joined in and joked, “Just hit her! That’s what I do!” Now, I was already giddy from Michael and the wheelchair shenanigans, so this whole situation was seriously fanning the giddy wildfire taking over my body. Alisha still looked a little uncomfortable by the fact that this intensely social couple was pulling us into their conversation. We learned the woman’s name was Melanie and that she’s never peeled an avocado but would consider doing so if she had the clever avocado tool she saw hanging on the wall.
It was about two minutes of high energy hysteria before they left Alisha to pick out measuring cups in peace. (She found orange ones. Orange is her favorite color and she says it in two syllables.)
I called out, “Bye!” making Alisha squint her eyes shut like she does so often when we’re together. (She doesn’t like that I encourage strangers to be social beings around us.) They turned around and loudly wished a good day upon us.
Now, I’m not ALWAYS down with situations like that, where strangers randomly try to strike up a conversation while I’m shopping, but there was something about them that I really liked, almost like they were inviting us to their inside joke party. It was bonding at its most purest. They were leaving right as we were checking out, and Mel and me (yeah, we got it like that) pointed at each other and laughed. As I watched their Steelers jerseys disappear out the doors, I felt my heart sag.
“I’m going to miss them,” I confided to Alisha. “Like, I keep picturing us having a barbeque with them. I might even let them talk about the Steelers.” THAT IS HOW MUCH I LIKED THOSE PEOPLE.
Of course I brought them up a ton of times throughout the day, and at one point I said, “I think I’m going to think about them forever.” Alisha’s reply, which tested positive for sarcasm, was, “No, not you. You NEVER obsess over ANYTHING.”
Within minutes of leaving Target, I received a text from my friend Justin, whom I haven’t seen in years. He was my first “OMG I’m going to kill myself if we break up” boyfriend back in high school, but we’ve always kept in touch. The text said, “Hey were you just at Target? I thought it was you but wasn’t sure.” Now at this point, Alisha and I were walking through the Toys R Us parking lot.
I read the text out loud to her and yelled appalling, “He wasn’t SURE if it was ME? What the fuck, he’s been in MY VAGINA, for Christ’s sake, and he wasn’t SURE it was me????”
I guess Alisha wasn’t expecting that because she sort of looked a little blanched and her eyes turned into a spinning marquee of #!#@#$%$#@%$, kind of like a WTF-version of a slot machine. She kept murmuring, “Why? Why? Why did you have to say that?” while rocking methodically in the passenger seat.
“Well, you know me. It’s what I’m good at.”
“Putting people in your vagina???” she cried.
“No! Making people uncomfortable.” But the more I thought about it, both I guess.