Tonight at my corner pharmacy, the man in the line next to me kept giving me the eye. He was building himself up to say something, I could just tell. It’s been a while since I’ve been so conspicuously checked out – but a woman remembers quickly.
I tried to avoid eye contact and stared straight ahead.
So he changed strategy and just spoke up, throwing his words into thin air.
“Cold, but it seems less cold tonight, huh?”
I didn’t say anything, so he said it again. Asked it.
It was awkward. There was now just one man in front of me engrossed in his medical tale with the pharmacist and my pursuer, now waiting at the counter for the other pharmacist who was off in the back room filling his prescriptions.
I hate to leave words, questions, just hanging there. How embarrassing. I get so embarrassed for other people (even when I don’t want to speak to them, apparently).
So I muttered, “yeah, I guess so.”
Just to give the guy something. Just to answer another human being.
“I mean, I don’t know,” he continued (what? a non-committal mutter is not an invitation to a conversation!). “I sleep alone in my bed.”
At this point, he just stared at me. For a really long time. Like I should be picturing him – lonely, shivering man – alone in his bed. Poor him. Alone when it’s so cold. Wouldn’t I like to join him?
I like the personal attention at my pharmacy – they’ll take the time to explain everything to you.
But right then all I wanted was for complicated medical guy ahead of me to finish his tale so I could pick up my pills and run, quickly, away from creepy guy who was still – (not sure, because I didn’t want to look too closely) – salivating and seeming more and more unseemly by the moment.
I got my wish, my pills – and wouldn’t you know it, creepy guy stared at me even as I was leaving the store.