I needed to run a few errands this afternoon and because of a series of events not worth explaining here, J decided to come with me even though it was the middle of the day. First we stopped at our local Mexican restaurant and were seated by one of my favorite servers. She doesn’t speak much English but I’m a fan of that in Mexican restaurants. While we were there, we saw a couple from church and had a little chat with them. The wife is a friend of mine from my creative writing group, and we’ll be meeting tomorrow night for our monthly gathering.
Then we stopped by the grocery store. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t particularly like grocery shopping, but I like it a little bit better when I have company. In the first aisle I went down, I saw a friend of mine, pushing her 2-year-old in one of those grocery carts with the giant plastic car attached to the front of it. The little guy was seatbelted in and everything.
In the last aisle I went down, I came across a woman from our church, who is in a women’s reading group with me.
Wow, I thought, I can’t go anywhere without seeing folks I know. That’s community for ya.
(And I’m not exaggerating for the sake of a blog post about community–I really did think it.)
Then, the best part came as we were checking out. Or, I should say, while J was checking out. I was just standing there, trying to stay out of the way because we aren’t very patient with each other if we are both trying to use the self-checkout at the same time. Trust me on this one.
One of the workers came by and peeked at some of the items he’d put in the bag. She was sort of muttering under her breath: “PG Tips? What is that? Oh, I see, it’s tea.”
Actually, it’s J’s favorite tea. It’s a strong black tea, and he drinks it every morning.
And with that, we were in a conversation. She doesn’t drink hot beverages in the summer time, but she does like cold tea, especially some special sweet peach tea concoction they serve at the Olive Garden. She goes through one of those every few days. In the winter she drinks tea instead of coffee, because she doesn’t like coffee, but she still has to flavor it, like with one of the French vanilla creamer sorts of things. Yes. Really? Interesting. Uh-huh. Me, too. Yes.
I’m pretty sure the conversation would have continued if J hadn’t finished checking out at that moment and gathered up all of our bags, waiting for me to stop talking.
Then, as we stepped away from the check-out lines, J leaned over to me. “For the record,” he said, “when I’m by myself, that doesn’t happen.”
It happens to me all the time.