"I feel like I'm in a Seinfeld episode.....," I thought to myself.
Great clarity, yes, WWJD? What would Jerry do?
You know that odd couple that you USED to know a dozen years ago, the ones you managed to wriggle free from way back when, the ones you barely even recall? The ones you don't want to get fly-papered to again because it was so difficult to free yourself the first time?
Well, the dreaded moment happened. They found us! Innocently checking out at the counter were Tom and I, when I noticed them standing shoulder to shoulder next to me, checking out, too.
My mind began to plot, "Don't look. Don't look. Tom, talk quieter, egads, you are talking too loud, Tom, too much......Cherie, don't look at them, focus on the checker, on the CHECKER. Yeah, hold your breath, THAT'll help!"
"Helloooooo!!!" came that familiar nasally voice, with our name attached, horribly mispronounced.
"Oh HI!!" I gushed, fake smile hiding my desperation.
My little voice counseled, "Be nice, Cherie. Act genuine. Huh? ACT...GENUINE? I'm losing it....really losing it.....oh noooooo....not these two....think of an escape plan....come on......mental whack upside the head...THINK!"
But still, they followed us outside and talked. Just like old times. Yep, they talked, and talked, and talked, and told us all about their ungrateful, mixed-up kids, their dead relatives, their illnesses and aches and pains, all about their business, and their spiritual beliefs - that one went all over the place - and on and on.
I knew it was going to be bad when they divided and conquered us. The man manipulated Tom off to the side. The woman, close-talked me into a corner, quite literally. There was an 8 foot tall shrub brushing against my left arm, and my right shoulder was jammed into a wall. I was cornered like an animal, but I couldn't snarl. That wouldn't be polite.
So I listened, peppering her monologue with insincere uh-huhs, thinking to myself, "A close-talker. And she sounds like a stuck pig when she laughs, that high-pitched squeal followed by that throaty huh huh huh huh. I'm scared! I wonder how long it will be before she asks me a question, any question, about me, my life, my family? This will be interesting. Man, that shrub is prickly. I want to get out of here! Are my eyes bulging with fear? It feels like they are. My back is against this hard building. It's cold. How's Tom doing? Oh no, he has his hand over his mouth, his head is down, he is listening, too. We are weak....so weak......"
When I'd lean to the right to try to get out of the corner, she'd lunge in at me, her faded, wrinkled, threatening eyes popping, snaggly teeth grinning through overly stretched lips, her face just three inches away from mine, then she'd squeal that pig squeal. Still cornered!
Finally, she asked, "So, how are your kids?" I figured she didn't really want to know because she'd gone on about how awful her kids were, the sad situations of their lives, and how her family had been fractured. She was hoping my family would be equally torn and heartbroken.
I let her down easily. "They are all fine. I still have two kids at home, you remember."
She rolled her eyes as she muttered how that was too bad.
"Cassie is learning to drive and is ......."
"Oh no!! I'll avoid her when I'm on the road!!" Squeal, huh huh huh huh.
"...really a very capable driver, better than a lot of adults I know."
Rolling eyes. "Oh surrrrre!"
This continued with each tidbit I gave her about the kids, so I just stopped and smiled one of those close-mouthed, tight-lipped smiles, and glanced over at Tom to see how he was faring. Not much better. Piggy's husband had both hands in the side pockets of his little, khaki shorts, his chest was puffed up so high that his head was knocked back, nose in the air, and his mouth was wide-grinning to the point that his eyes were only slits. Tom? Still looking at his feet and nodding.
My glance away caused her to look away as well. Aha! My chance. I was able to slide my way out of the corner, walk over to Tom, mention that the girls would be wondering where we were, and we'd better get going.
"Okay. Well, good to see you again," said the man. "You look the same. Well, older, more wrinkles and more gray hair. " At this Piggy squealed and leaned forward.
"Are you still in the book?" she asked. "I'll call you. We have GOT to get together! I'll call you this week. Don't worry, I won't forget! It's just been TOO long."
Not long enough. Not at all long enough.
Gotta love caller I.D.