Braux Pas:  When Did I Ask You to Talk?

written by Tony DiGerolamo
Copyright 2016

So it’s been almost two years since I had to write one of these, but write one of these, I had to.  Let me set the scene:

The Missus and I were bored and like most bored married couples that need a few odds and ends and can’t find anything decent to watch on On-Demand, we headed out to the Target to acquire the random items we needed.  It was late for our Target, which closes at 11pm.  We arrived around 10:40.  Just enough time to get in and out without annoying the late shift.

The Missus needed some cosmetics and I needed a pack of Magic Cards.  We set out, she with the cart, to either department.  I acquired the Magic Cards (which are near the registers) almost immediately.  I trailed after to her and caught up half way to the hair dye or face cream or whatever.  Just as I caught up with her and was about to make my umpteenth comment about how she was too beautiful to need all this make up, he came out of an aisle to my left pushing a cart at a brisk pace.

Who was he?  I have no idea.  He had kinda long brown hair, he was late 30’s/early 40’s.  Yellowish T-shirt and a pair of jeans that were tattered on the bottom.  He got into my personal space almost immediately and talked to me like we were old friends.

“Man, I can’t believe it!” he said, a little bit exasperated.  “My wife ran right into a puddle and flooded the car!”

“Uh, yeah,” I said, befuddled, wondering if I had tuned out in the beginning of our conversation.

I stole a glance at his cart.  Pants, peanut butter, something in a box, a greeting card—  Was he shopping or on a scavenger hunt?

“I can’t believe it!  Now I’m going to have to fix the car!” he said, doubling down on a conversation that hadn’t even started with “Hello”.

“Yeah, good luck with that,” I replied as neutrally as I could, trying to increase my pace.

He seemed to be waiting for me to engage him, but I would have none of it.  It was 10:50pm, you fucking weirdo.  The store is closing and I’m not giving you and your peanut butter, pants party a ride anywhere.  Is this a scam?  He’s going to ask me for money, I know it.

Mercifully, he abandoned the conversation just as quickly as he started.  I checked my pockets to assure myself that my cellphone, car keys and wallet were still present.  The Missus got her make up.  We stopped down the diary aisle for half and half and headed back to the cashiers.

Five minutes later, as the employees began rushing around in a vain attempt to be in their car before 11, we were in our car heading home.  I turned at the light, drove maybe a half mile and stopped at another light.

Suddenly, there he was.

This crazy motherfucker that desperately wanted to be my friend was walking at top speed, babbling to himself.  He literally had to have ended our conversation, then turned around and left the store immediately to get that far.  There was no other possible way he could’ve walked that distance and at the frantic pace he was walking I could see why, but here’s the thing—

No bag.  He didn’t buy the peanut butter, pants or anything!  He hadn’t bought anything!  What was this guy’s game?!  Was he going to hit me up for a ride and then mug us?  Try to sell us meth?  Get us to pay for his weird purchases?  Steal my Magic Cards?!  I wanted to pull up onto the curb in front of him to demand answers, but there were no answers.

This was his world.  I was just living in it and he wanted to talk to me like we were buddies, he damn well was gonna.  And when he was done, he was done.

When did I ask you to talk, bro?  Don’t make my Target experience weird.  That’s reserved for Wal Mart and I don’t shop there.