Friday, May 15, 2009

Wal-Mart Guy

A couple of weekends ago, I found myself at a Wal-Mart in another town. It was a Sunday afternoon and it was during a heat wave. My skin was pink and shiny with drippy, viscous sweat...but so was everyone else's. After this, the plan was that I would go home, and start sorting things and packing my belongings into boxes. (At this point, I knew there was a good chance I would be moving out of New Jersey and wanted to prepare early.) In fact, I had planned to spend the day doing this, but things kept conspiring against me and I found myself at Wal-Mart in the late afternoon.
At Wal-Mart, all I planned to buy were a couple of pairs of their $2 bamboo flip flops and a box of Band-Aids. Except Wal-Mart cast its fluorescent-lit spell upon me. As I walked in the door, I found myself confronted with rows of bras. I realized that it was high time I got some new bras. For three months I had been wearing a strapless bra held in place by a camisole. I wish I was exaggerating but I am not. So, I spent time picking out tackily cute, cheap bras that I knew would stretch or snap within six months, but who cares. I knew that a navy blue bra with cartoonish anchors and stars and hearts on it was impractical...but so cute! Awhile ago, I wrote in this blog about going to Target and being angry that I couldn't find any bras that fit. This same thing happened again at Wal-Mart, so I decided to try on a different size. Well, at this Wal-Mart, I learned my true bra size...and the day would never be the same.
Well, it set the tone for a bizarre day.
Incidentally, I didn't buy any bras in the correct size because there were only two that I could find in the entire store, and they had wide straps (ugh), and they were ugly. They were off-white. One had small rainbow polka dots on it. The other had rainbow candy-cane stripes of varying widths. Trust me, they were ugly. So I bought the nautical bra in the wrong size.
THEN they didn't have the sandals I wanted!
OK, I know, you're like, wasn't there supposed to be a guy in this story? Get to the point!

Anyway, an embarrassingly (or em-bra-ssingly) long time later, perhaps thirty minutes, I found myself in the hair removal aisle staring, with confusion, at a mixture of men's razors and women's Nair products.
It is a post for another time about how women's hair removal products are always difficult to find in drug stores because, in my experience at least, they are NEVER in the same place and they are NEVER labeled. Why? There are so many embarrassing products in the pharmacy section of a store; how is Nair or Sally Hansen wax strips the most unmentionable product?!
I was looking for Parissa body sugar, if anyone cares. Of course, Wal-Mart did not have any. But I spent a long time staring at that shelf.
When I looked up, a man was standing before me. How long he had been standing there, watching me, I don't know. Watching me holding ridiculous nautical bras and flip flops, while intently staring at jars of Nair.

"Excuse me," the man said.
I stared at him blankly, under the stupefying spell of Wal-Mart, deprived of natural light and air and therefore, drained of the ability to quickly switch to "social interaction" mode.
"Excuse me, I just wanted to say hello to you. You're so beautiful I just had to say hi."

"..." responded Socially Awkward Sarah.

"I mean, really...ever since I saw you in the Wal-Mart, I just had to speak to you!"

A thought crossed my mind--how long ago had he first seen me in the Wal-Mart? Had he been following me? For long? Had he seen me picking out bras!?

"...Oh...um..." I stammered.

"I mean it, I really like your look...you know, everything...your dress...Where are you from?"

"Target," I answered. Emerging from the haze, my shopping-foggy brain had fixated on the word "dress." And so, I told the man that I was from Target.

"No, I mean, where are you from? Are you Spanish?"
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Why do people always ask about my ethnicity? And why, why do so many people guess "Spanish"? I told him that I was French. (The abridged version.)

"French! Wow! You're French? Wow, I don't mean many people from France! Welcome to America!"

"Oh no! I'm from New Jersey. My family's from France." I wondered how he was able to mistake someone with a heavy Jersey accent for being off-the-boat French.

"Oh. Well, can I buy you a cup of coffee?"

All I could think was, "Ugh! This Wal-Mart trip has already taken too long. AND I have to go to Liquor Outlet. AND I haven't started packing yet!" I told him I was really busy.

"Well, can I have your number?"

"I'm moving to Oregon in two weeks." I realized as this came out of my mouth that it sounded like complete bullshit. (Instead of partial bullshit. Two weeks have gone by and I am not yet in Oregon.)

"Really? Oregon?"
"Yes! Really!"
"Why?"

"I got a job out there...and I'm going to take it...because I want to be a scientist!" I found myself telling this stranger all about my decision to run away from home to be a botanist.

"Well, then let me take you out for coffee."
"Where?"
"Dunkin Donuts. It's right outside."

I thought about it. It was true; Dunkin Donuts was right there. It was a safe neighborhood. It was 5pm. I had my own car. Even if this guy was a serial killer, there was a very small chance he'd have opportunity to serially kill me. I sent a friend a text message telling her where I was going and to please call me in thirty minutes. I also thought, how often is it that some guy tells you that you're beautiful and he just wants to talk to you and buy you coffee right now!

I told him I wanted to buy Band-Aids first. I then took an inordinately long time picking out Band-Aids. I asked him where his groceries were; he looked confused, but produced a shopping cart. I was relieved to see that it not only existed, but contained several gallons of Tide and a few cans of Prego pasta sauce. Those weren't the groceries of a creep! (As opposed to what...rope? Something heavy? And something with toxic fumes?)

So we went to a nearby Dunkin Donuts...where we had nothing to talk about. He made a comment that was either racist or I misheard it (and racism is one of my few deal-breakers) and I drew a map on a napkin to explain where Oregon was. Still, he asked for my number. I told him I wasn't comfortable giving him my number; how about e-mail? He said he didn't have a computer. (That's why I feel safe writing all of this on a blog.) Skipping the boring parts of the story, he looked sad, so I gave him my number. He gave me an awkward hug and we got into our respective cars.

And that was how I got asked out in the hair removal aisle of Wal-Mart.

1 comment:

fardadm said...

great story, jersey girl. this is the best story i've read about how parissa body sugar resulted in a date! you can find parissa body sugar at all wholefoods and ricky's in the new york area. other parissa products are available at target and duane reade. it's quite possible that the quality of guys may be better at these stores. best of luck!