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Sketches of Perfect Strangers
  misc - Nonfiction  
  opened by paleface at 13:13:28 04/16/05  
  last modified by paleface at 19:54:26 12/24/06  
  paleface [loc=misc; cui=Nonfiction]
           
Hector's Waitress
 
Somewhat old, with large breasts that the conservative black uniform did little to minimize, she wore almost granny glasses, yet in a hipsterish, rather than senile, way. Communicating easily, she deftly handled my stumbling over the menu (I said I wanted the mac & cheese, yet they had two kinds), and later felt comfortable enough to comment that their deserts were very good.
 
Oh yes, that reminds me of a certain display of her perhaps excessive conversation, but corresponding tact. After the usual "how are you" pleasantries of our first meeting, she (I didn't ask her back, but my companion did--he's always thoughtful in that way with strangers) mentioned that she couldn't tell yet: she was too busy. I think it was I that remarked that this was a good thing, and she said oh yes, it was, for her it was a very good thing to be busy. What she must have meant was that it was good because she made much more money in tips when the place was busy, but she didn't go into that; she just naturally stopped talking. I thought that was clever.
 
Her stock went somewhat down a bit later, however, when, after bringing our desserts (there's something so indecent about eating a large dessert at 2:00 pm), she warned us that she would be outside for five minutes or so, and that someone else whose name I forget, and who never made an appearance, could help us with anything we needed in the meantime. As it happened, we had just been talking about the foul habits of five-minute smoke-breakers, and that was just what she went off to do, as my companion noted the nicotine reek about her when she returned (I did not; but then, his nose has given much evidence of being quite sensitive and easily annoyed). I added to the complaints--somewhat unjustly, I will admit--by objecting to her having failed to introduce me to the possibly attractive young barmaid. We were a bit short on change and left her only a ten percent tip. It's odd, because normally I would recoil at the thought of doing such a thing, and I wasn't really at all upset with her, yet it felt somehow appropriate.
 
  paleface 13:21:48 04/16/05
           
Hector's Barmaid
 
I don't, in fact, know that she was the barmaid; I couldn't see the bar from where we sat, for one thing. She may very likely have been a waitress, but if she was, she didn't have any tables in my easy line of sight. She sort of cavorted and twirled and chattered around the back area of our dining room, where there was a huge floor-to-ceiling dark wood bar-back thing with a central mirror and tall pepper shakers standing in a neat row on what I can only call the mantle-piece.
 
Her hair was light red, her cheeks and arms slightly pudgy, in a youngish sort of way; she reminded me somehow of a healthy Irish lass. I have mixed feelings about this, because in my mind that somehow implies a mean father, a tendency to grow fat with age, and perhaps some odd religious hangups. But she had large, bright eyes, and a white, round smile, fair skin contrasting sharply with her black uniform, and she was not short, nor fat; not yet, anyway.
 
All the same, she probably would not have stuck in my mind like this if not for a curious incident over which I am still puzzling: namely, she was pushed out of the back kitchen area, and smiled awkwardly across the room at me before twisting back inside. I say "at me" but at the time I was certain that it couldn't have been at me; and yet it had seemed to me that she had come very close to looking directly at me. I made a face or two after her once she disappeared, and then even twisted around to see if perhaps someone was behind me: nothing. A mystery, then, and I don't think she came back out to clarify things, although she had been out many times earlier. Wait, no, perhaps she did cross the back kitchen entrance once more after that, and it seems to me that she paused and did something, but now I can't remember; it's all become a muddle.
 
I'm also thinking that it was our waitress who playfully pushed or wrestled her out from the back area to smile uncertainly in the passageway, but I wasn't really paying attention to that other person at the time, and really, it seems unlikely to have been our older and not exactly physical waitress.
 
  paleface 13:22:13 04/16/05
           
Hi-Life Waitress
 
It's kind of creepy that I'm only writing about waitresses at the moment, but I just started this, and this is just today. I think.
 
Our waitress at the highlife struck me immediately as being unusually slender--skinny, even. I wasn't sure if she was pretty as she leaned over the table in front of me to deposit menus; then she stood up straight and sort of leaned back to survey us a little, and I found that she wasn't, not quite. She seemed, to me, dangerously skinny, and she also had a sort of over-oiled spiky look going on with her hair; a look that appeared to me too forced, as if she were overdoing things in an attempt to be someone else.
 
She pulled unexpected hard-sell tactics, most notably when, after we'd ordered a large group platter, she asked if we wanted any side dishes to sort of go in and spice the thing up. She then had to admit, again, that the platter should definitely fill us up all by itself (she fibbed--it didn't); why, then, had she tried to sell us on additional ingredients? She also asked me if I wanted a drink, twice, when after the first time she should have realized that I was perfectly content with water.
 
I have to say, though, that she was good about keeping the water glasses refilled, at any rate.
 
Something about her conversation struck me at the time... What time... Maybe when she was asking us about drink refills. Anyway, I remember thinking that for a young woman, working in Ballard, she had an awfully cosmopolitan air, like she had already been places and seen things, and knew how things were. I don't think this could have been the case, though, because if it was, why was she still waiting tables at an odd place like the Hi-Life? No, I think rather it was an assumed attitude, a sort of studied way of appearing perfectly at ease discussing elements of the menu with total strangers.
 
Once, while doing something around a booth behind ours, she managed to spill a tray of something quite forcefully against that booth's seat. I'm not sure what it was, but judging by her mild and even amused reaction (she called a nearby waitress to witness her), it probably wasn't anything that was expensive or staining; I think it was probably water. Instead of quickly picking things up and moving on, like they probably do in really classy joints, she carried on about it for a bit, and even led my companions to comment on the proceedings ("I saw it!" "I *felt* it!"). I felt this to be rather gauche so, when she came over to fill our water glasses, I pulled my hands back from the table, as if to avoid being spilled on. She took this a bit theatrically ("Oh, you!" and "Don't make me nervous--I'll spill!").
 
I think, ultimately, she was a little uncomfortable--with us, or her job in general--and made up for it by being overly boisterous. I suppose many people who work in service positions must be quite different when not on the job. I wasn't, but then, I wasn't very good in service positions--I didn't feel that it was appropriate to pretend to be feeling cheerful when I wasn't. Not that I went around acting depressed or something (at least, I don't think I did), but I did not attempt to convince people that I was happier than I was. It's kind of a creepy thing to do, if you think about it.
 
  paleface 22:05:47 04/23/05
           
Man Walking at Evening
 
What caught my attention as he came toward my window down the side street was that he spat leisurely at his hand, then just as leisurely lowered his arm slackly to his side, sort of flapping his hand to flick off the flem. Why did he spit at his hand? I'm still not sure what to make of that.
 
As he turned the corner and proceeded along the sidewalk directly across the street from my window, I noticed the oddity in his walk: his long, tapering legs seemed to advance first, then his upper body and finally his head caught up in a sort of whiplash motion. Despite this distress, his large, even overlarge, head turned constantly this way and that, with a somewhat pleased half-smile on his face, as if he were happy with everything around him. At times he appeared to be talking to himself.
 
Despite the slender size of his legs, his upper body had some weight on it--the weight of a man who doesn't exercise much and who likes to eat. Even so, his head seemed larger still, and not really to fit well as it bobbled around with his awkward movement.
 
His arms continued to hang slackly at his sides as he walked, making no effort that I could see to counterbalance his walking motion. Perhaps this is why he sometimes veered a bit to one side or the other, apparently accidentally, although he always corrected his course after a few steps, again apparently unconsciously.
 
Some sort of tapering black pants, jeans perhaps, covered his legs, coming down over the tops of his sneakers, which looked from a distance something like Converse. His slightly lighter jacket belled out over his stomach in a fairly unflattering way to which he seemed oblivious--or perhaps just uncaring. After all, why should a man cool enough to spit into his own hand while walking down the street concern himself overmuch with the cut of his jacket?
 
  paleface 01:43:08 04/24/05
           
Slovenly Cross-Street Neighbor Guy
 
I never really see the neighbors on the corner house across the street, so it was a shock to see someone in their backyard as I walked down the street to my car. It was a young man, with that sort of upright swaybacked pose and protruding belly that signifies a guy who believes he has the figure of a Greek god, without having to go to the trouble to prove it.
 
Having seen the belly, I took care to avert my gaze, or at least to appear to do so, but I managed to notice that his underwear hung rather low on his waist--and I managed to notice that because his pants hung even lower, and probably had more chance of coming into contact with this knees than with his abdomen; the two together produced an interesting telescoping effect of interlinked, sliding tubes. It doesn't surprise me that people might dress that way in the privacy of their own home, but I must say that I'd have thought they'd trouble to draw themselves up a bit before venturing on a trek across the yard.
 
He strutted (as much as one can strut when riding as low as that) over to their semi-enclosed garage, putting something in it, I think--I looked away as he engaged in the hazardous maneuver of bending over in his precariously clinging leggings--and then headed back to the house--but going for the basement back door; I wonder if he's a boarder down there? I've also a few times been barked at by a tiny and annoying, wiry little mutt on a long leash in that yard; this fellow seemed like the kind of person who might have such a pet.
 
  paleface 00:42:07 04/26/05
           
Mid-Block Possum
 
My Seattle neighborhood is in the city proper, really not that far from downtown, but even so, if you're going around the block on a balmy spring night, you might happen to stumble across a large, rather sluggish animal.
 
It'll be shorter than a cat, but bulkier and lower to the ground; larger and less excitable than a small dog; less skittish than a raccoon; with a rat tail, but much bigger than a rat has a right to be. Then it'll turn its face toward you, and by the bone-white mask glaring boldly back at you, you'll know: it's a possum.
 
As far as I can recall, this was the first one I've seen this year. I usually see them while I'm walking rather than driving, but this one was out in the street, on the verge of crossing. I might not'a seen him really I suppose, only I had to slow down for the bicylist in front of me--no room to dodge past him on the residential street, not with cars parked on either side. The biker saw him--passed within a couple feet of him--and did a double-take back at him as he continued on. I fancied that his eyes were wider than usual, perhaps in fear.
 
I came along right after that, and although the critter was gettin' a face full of my right headlight, and my bumper was coming along just a few feet away from him, he didn't budge--just looked off to the side a bit, maybe eyeing me out of the corner of his eye. Didn't look scared; he looked pissed.
 
A possum, in my albeit urban and limited experience, isn't gonna run from you: he'll sort of crouch down and put his fur up and hiss at you out of his death mask of a face, but he won't run. No, I think they'd rather take their chances trying to tear your throat out than let you see the back of 'em. Maybe that's why so many of them end up as roadkill. I can't be sure, and I've never seen one have to have it out with someone; but I can't say I really feel like putting my theory to the test.
 
  paleface 18:23:55 09/03/06
           
Mr. Vacation
 
It is late summer. Weekend afternoons, the graffitied, untreated wooden bench at the abandoned bus stop in front of the non-denominational Christian church across the street hosts the unrestrained bulk of a man in greyish shorts and a button-down, brightly colored Hawaiian-style short-sleeve shirt.
 
This man enjoys spending entire sunny days on this public bench, smiling at the cars going by on the busy street. He unbuttons his loud shirt, sits back, and allows the sun to tan his large, rather hairless round belly and chest. Although he spends hours at it, his tan is still fairly light, and admirably evenly distributed. I wonder if he uses tanning lotion.
 
Sometimes he whistles to himself to help pass the time, or perhaps just to relax. His expensive-looking dark sunglasses and casual sandals would lead on to believe that he is not homeless; he simply knows of no more pleasant way to spend his summer afternoons than on this warm bench.
 
Often there are other people hanging around outside the church, and when this happens he sometimes buttons up his shirt and walks around a bit, perhaps not quite at ease among certain types of onlookers.
 
  paleface 19:54:26 12/24/06
           
Supermarket Dream Girl
 
It was the second time I'd been to the supermarket in less than an hour. It was also Christmas Eve, and the place was still packed, with about forty minutes left until closing time.
 
This is our local, rather upscale supermarket. Sure, the slutty Safeway that moved in a block away a few years back has all the same features--olive bar, huge deli, built-in brand-name coffee shop, bulk product bins, etc etc--but this place was slightly more expensive, and catered to a slightly more expensively dressed clientele--you know, those people with the I-needed-more-caviar-so-I-just-threw-these-sweats-on look. They'd remodeled three or four years before, greatly expanding the floral section, which was now awesome, the olive bar, putting in more natural wood and track lighting, adding the coffee shop, and raising their prices across the board, among other improvements.
 
As I said, I'd already been there once that day. That was early-ish afternoon, when I knew I'd better get there and get the olive bread I'd promised to bring to mom's for Christmas dinner--oh, and some nice flowers for her, of course--before they closed for the one time a year they actually closed. Everyone else knew that too, which is why the place was packed. It probably didn't help that the Seahawks had a game going on right then, either, but this is the kind of joy you have to expect in the wonderful holiday season.
 
Typical of my vacation habits, I'd been up ridiculously late--about 7:00 am, this time--for some reason writing a heartwarming sports story to keep my online clients entertained. Hm, that sounds sleazy, doesn't it? Anyway, I'd had to set my alarm to make sure I could hit the places I needed to hit the next day--Christmas Eve--before they shut down for the holiday, and I'd shot myself up with a straight brick of unsweetened, caffeine-laden chocolate--so, so bitter--after hauling myself stiffly out of bed at 1:00 pm. Wow, this is sounding lamer and lamer as I go on. But I suppose it's best that you know right now that's just how I roll.
 
Every time I go to that grocery store I harbor the secret thought that maybe she'll be there--the grocery-bagging girl of my dreams. I still can't figure why she works there; with her looks, she could easily get a job as the teasing greeter at any high-class restaurant in town, or, hell, as a model at some local agency; so she may not have the excessive height necessary for a supermodel, but otherwise, aside maybe from a slight pinch of pout at the jowls, she sure had the look. Reed-slender, with long, silky black or just really dark brown hair flowing straight halfway down her back, carrying herself with what the ungenerous or jealous might call bad posture but what I regarded as an infinitely sexy, slight feline slouch, she sashayed around the cash registers of the supermarket like she owned the place; and as far as I was concerned, she did.
 
I'd never talked to her, of course, aside from "plastic, please" the few lucky times that she'd bagged my groceries (rrrow!). She hadn't done that in quite some time, though, probably since she'd learned early on that, stupid young bachelor that I was, I never bought enough that the cashier really needed help bagging, and anyway, I was silly enough to have a go at bagging my own things whenever the chance arose (and I've yet to break the eggs, woo! Maybe I should turn pro one of these days--again). Wait, that's assuming that she remembered me. Okay, she probably just avoided me on the wise principle of steering clear of hung-over looking guys.
 
There's the whole repugnance I have of hitting on people at their jobs where they can't get away from me that I can use as an excuse for my cowardice, I suppose. It's probably dumb, but I've known guys who did that--hung out at coffee shops hitting on the baristas, I mean--and it always impressed me as strictly low-class. And they never got any play that way, anyhow.
 
Not that I'd had the guts to ask more than one or two girls out in my whole life or anything. Hell, most of the times I stumbled into the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon, I was too fuzzy-headed to be prepared for an encounter with such loveliness, much less come up with any kind of appropriate sally. No, as on this day, the day before everyone pretends to celebrate what they tell us is the son-of-God's birthday, I was completely dumbfounded when my bleary, unwashed, unshaven eyes (ouch!) blinked open to find her slinking by me as I tried to maneuver my way out of the floral department at the front of the store without knocking over any vases. Mom's small Christmas bouquet was taken care of, at least.
 
I managed to catch sight of her once or twice as I went past the front in my rounds of snatching things into my little basket around the store. She didn't even bother pretending to wear the store uniform anymore; she knew she was too gorgeous for anyone to complain--any guy, anyway--about what she wore. On this holy day she'd chosen a light blue, form-fitting turtleneck sweater on top of a slim pair of blue jeans. She looked less tired than she sometimes did. As far as I was concerned, she was absolutely stunning.
 
Having snapped up my supplies, finishing off with two small round loaves of what I hoped was fresh olive bread, sifting through my basket carefully to make sure I was under the ten-item express-lane limit (I really hate people who heave into the express lines with more than the specified number of items; they're never thrown out, of course, or even treated impolitely, but damn it, they should be), I parked myself at what seemed to be the end of one of the two express lines, which had sort of converged together in a confused tangle to try to make some space for people jamming by with shopping carts. A youngish couple coming in just after me exchanged a few mild "haha, I think this is the end of the line?" pleasantries with the woman in front of me--perhaps middle-aged, face at that point where it was just flattening into loose wrinkles, and trying to hide it under slightly too much makeup--after which she for some reason turned toward me, semi-playfully growling "if I have to talk to just one more person today! Oooh!" to which I responded in my most debonaire, humor-the-crazy-person-in-the-supermarket tone, "I won't say a word"; a clear hypocrisy, but one I knew she'd take, since obviously she hadn't had to talk to me, or to the couple behind me. Fortunately, it seemed to satisfy her, and she turned back to facing forward and getting ready to throw her things at the next available cashier.
 
So I made my purchases--the cashier was pleasant, as they always are, but this fellow really had a nice tone, and didn't seem at all stressed out by the crowd, somehow--picked up mom's bouquet from the floral department after an awkward pause where I failed to make myself known to the girl I hadn't placed the order with while waiting in vain for the woman who would recognize me to make her way over to the counter before an impolite amount of silence elapsed, and, on my way to the exit, happily got to walk past the girl of my dreams as she gracefully and sulkily bagged someone else's groceries.
 
Oh, I forgot to mention--as most would, I suppose, but I'm being an obsessive crazy stalker here already, so I might as well get this off my chest--that rather miraculously, as far as I was concerned, she'd come up almost right in front of me to grab an empty grocery basket as I waited in line, and I could almost swear with that eternal optimism of the hopeless wimpy romantic that she half-turned to look at me as she walked away back down the row of registers. Or if not to look at me, at least in my direction. The direction I happened to be in, that is. Toward the main part of the store. Where she'd have had every reason to glance. But still, I'd take what I could get.
 
No, I'd never said anything to her really, nor even seen anything approaching an opportunity to say something hopefully witty or at least sincere and possibly almost memorable to her in any situation verging on semi-privacy. Not that I would have tried anyhow, I suppose. I still harbor this fantasy that some day she will, for some bizarre reason, come over, bag my pitiful number of obviously-single-and-can't-cook groceries, smile, and coyly offer to help me carry them--in their small, single bag--to my car. This will, of course, never happen as long as the current laws of the universe exist, and rightly so, but that doesn't stop a guy from hoping.
 
So, all in all, it was a highly successful trip to the grocery store, as far as these things went. I dropped my things off at home, snagged my book, and proceeded on my merry way through the Christmas Eve rain up the ridge to the quirky local breakfast/brunch joint I make a habit of hitting every Sunday, usually with my friend and maybe my brother, but this time of year my brother was off possibly snowboarding, and my friend was spending the day with his family--they open presents on Christmas Eve, the heathens--and had actually gone there with them already that day, in the morning, when decent people have their breakfast. By the time I got there, it was just past two, and they closed at three. The place looked dark from the outside, and empty at first glance, and I almost feared they were closed, even though a taped-up sheet of printed paper in the window made a point of saying they were still open until their usual three o'clock hour. And then I reached the main door, and saw people in one of the booths, and was sure I was safe. I opened the door.
 
The cook was standing behind the counter, and wagged his hip goatee at me: "Closed." In the middle of entering and adjusting to the interior, though, I didn't really take that heavy message in all at once, until the short, voluptuously sassy waitress who always wears a different too-small t-shirt over her significant bosom and tummy while playfully teasing/insulting us, standing beside him, also wagged her elfish face and added "We close at 2 today."
 
Gentleman and wuss that I am, I raised no fuss. "Well, merry Christmas," I managed, possibly with what could have passed for a grin, or a look of being about to break into confused tears. She gave me a toothy half-smile and some kind of similar satiric seasonal greeting in return. I tried to nod pleasantly and staggered back out into the rain coming down on the usually busy street. On my way down the sidewalk back to my car, I managed to notice that the sign saying they were still open until three o'clock was referring to New Year's Eve, not Christmas Eve. Damn Eves.
 
Now I needed alternate plans. Another breakfast place? Nah, all the decent ones would probably be closed as well, and I didn't feel like trying a sleazy one. I'd just bought sufficient supplies for two breakfasts--my usual two-egg, non-fat swiss cheese, two baby tomato, two slices of hand-shredded deli turkey omelettes which I love with a strange sort of food lust, but I needed at least one of those for the day after Christmas, when I'd be stranded at home after taking my car into the shop for the "45,000-mile maintenance" they'd swindled me into, and I figured I probably needed the other as emergency rations for the next day, too, so that meant I needed to make another trip to the grocery store.
 
I didn't need to, of course. But it seemed like a good excuse; I knew she was there, and that I might get to see her again for a few seconds. God, this is sad. I wondered vaguely while peering at the rain through my half-fogged windshield if I should try to make my own version of the yogurt and blueberry "parfait" type of thing I always get at Mae's on Sunday to complement my usual smoked-salmon omelette--they're so used/disgusted with me now that they get that for me right off without me even having to order it, even though it's a modification of their "Breakfast Sunday," removing that deadly-carb-heavy granola they're supposed to come with, when the menu clearly says "no substitutions." I tip them too much, to cover up for my guilt.
 
I figured I'd probably better not try it, since I'd tried it once before and utterly, unbelievably botched it: the yogurt I got turned out to be not even yogurt, but some kind of artificially non-sugar-sweetened goo that I ate anyway and then felt nauseated by and will probably get cancer from, and I forgot to heat up the blueberries, so they were flat and green and clammy and felt like eyeballs in my mouth. No, better not try it. Just get the cheese you need and make your omelette and be happy enough with that.
 
After going by the fast-food drive-up to grab three "Dick's Deluxe" burgers for my planned Christmas Eve repast--hey, I support my beloved local chains, all right?--I headed back to the supermarket, fighting the nagging fear that this was just the kind of situation where a tragic or at least amusingly inconvenient holiday car crash would occur. This mild delirium might have been due to having nothing in me but five hours of sleep, caffeine, the bitterest of chocolate, and two calcium antacids that I'd taken before going to bed at 7:00 am, since my stomach had had nothing better to do with itself after the sushi I'd given it ten hours before than to growl and frolic in its own acids as I'd tried to get to sleep.
 
But possibly it was due to the slightly giddy, wishfully naughty thought of getting to see Her twice in one day. The traffic lights were oddly in my favor. Hey, there's the video store, that reminds me, maybe this lonely late brunch at home is the perfect chance to watch some movie all of my friends have either seen or sworn never to see, instead of just one of those old pre-Hollywood Hitchcock flicks a buddy of mine got me in a weird DVD compilation he'd happened across in the bargain bin, because I was sure too loopy to be able to navigate through the French novel I was trying to use--fairly unsuccessfully--to teach myself the language after wasting several years of high school and college in flirting with it in classes where none of us really cared about learning it in a useful way. Yep, this was the perfect opportunity to get Weatherman, which my brother had just reminded me of two days earlier by mentioning that he'd hardly recognized Christina Applegate in it--this is the kind of classy conversation we have, see. Oh, except it's called Anchorman, which I can never remember for some reason. Oops, the video store was past, now, but I'd go back by it on the more-or-less way home.
 
After the supermarket. In I went, with three goals: non-fat Swiss for the omelette, some kind of nice expensive European cheese to make up for the lost parfait (I'd briefly considered finally trying one of the shakes at the fast-food joint, but jesus, I was slacking enough on hitting the gym as it was, and besides, a sugar low in my current state would just about finish me off), and one last covert glimpse of Her Gloriousness before I had to pretend to turn my thoughts to holy, un-sexy things for a day.
 
Cheeses in hand (I'd grabbed some kind of semi-soft Danish thing, I think), I walked through the crowds toward the express registers for the second time that day. This close to closing time, the place was thinning out, and if I could just get around these two obviously confused people pausing in the middle of the store front aisle ahead of me, I could get to the register with no line. I was dodging them when it happened.
 
She was heading for me, right down the aisle, the crowds of comparatively unattractive well-off riff-raff seeming in my fervid imagination to part before her like the Red Sea before Moses, except that in that light-blue form-hugging thin turtleneck sweater she looked way better than Moses ever possibly could have, probably.
 
After the first surprised eyeful of her I sort of looked slightly off to the side, so as not to stare too obviously, but then I realized she was looking right at me, or at least right at my not-so-general direction, ahead and just a tad off to her right as I was on my way out of the aisle to the register. I looked back.
 
Holy crap, was this eye contact? I swear, I swear on my mother's grave--wait, I probably shouldn't do that, especially since my dear mom is still very much alive and in fantastic shape and will probably and hopefully be so for at least forty more years because I'd be screwed without her--that she was looking right at me, right into my eyes as she strode effortlessly almost toward me through the throng. It wasn't just any look, either; it was a full-on model-on-the-catwalk eyebrow-puckered heart-bursting glower--or so I like to think. In reality, I'm sure it was more of a "what the hell are you doing here twice in one day on Christmas Eve, loser? And get a damn shave" look. Aw, who am I kidding? Really it must have been a "I am so glad to be going on break" look that just happened to go straight through me as she tried to avoid looking at anyone on her way back to safety in the staff area at the side of the store. By the time I managed to look around after she'd passed and I'd got to the register, she was nowhere in sight.
 
Well damn it, a guy can dream. She totally wants me. Best trip to the grocery store, ever. For me, I mean.

 
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