Last night on my way home from choir practice, I had to stop and pick up a few things at the store. I needed pet food AND me-food, so I had to go to the big superstore instead of the regular grocery store. But this is generally not a big deal. I know where everything is there—or at least everything that I needed last night, so theoretically, it would not be a long trip.
I was just about done, pushing my cart past a bewilderingly large display of shampoo, when one of the store workers pushed a work cart past me. She looked over at me, sighed a great sigh of exasperation, and said, “I wish I still carried a gun.”
I’m sure my eyes looked about ready to pop out and roll across the floor, but I think I managed to sound polite and sympathetic. “Bad day?” I asked her.
Well, now that she had a sympathetic listener, the floodgates opened. This woman stood there in her red grocery smock, price gun in hand, telling me about how she wanted to shoot out the store’s loudspeakers because they kept playing Fleetwood Mac songs on the store radio, and she’d had enough of that when the guy who used to live in her basement would play Fleetwood Mac on his guitar while wearing nothing but his underwear, and if she had to hear Stevie Nicks one more time, that would just be the end of it because she couldn’t take it anymore, and her next job would not have any music at all!
Meanwhile, I was trying to edge away carefully. She kept following me, ranting all the way! Maybe she wasn’t allowed to leave her department, or maybe there was some sort of electronic tether that had her confined to the Health and Beauty section, though; when I made yet another empathetic-but-I-have-to-go-now noise and crossed the aisle to the dairy section, she did not follow me, even though she was still calling out how the guy who’d been playing Fleetwood Mac songs in his underoos had been diagnosed with depression.
Am I some kind of magnet for random strangers to tell me their problems, or what?
And then after all that, I still forgot to get the sour cream.