At the supermarket, I look at the check-out lady being held hostage by an elderly woman with endless exchanges of pleasantry, and attempts at swiping the new debit card. Oh boy (eyes rolling), this is going to take a long time. The check-out lady is in her late 40’s. Tattoos on her wrist. Red-dyed straight hair. Probably a life long smoker. She’s pretty tall. She looks a little rough. But she’s wearing a great pair of brown cow leather boots with gold buckles, the prairie kind that you associate young mid-western women on a farm, with pigtails and a floral shirt, wearing. I couldn’t help admiring the boots, and then I said, “I like your boots.” They fascinated me because they didn’t go with the rest of her.
She said, “Thank you.” She rang me up, all business. Not a word more.
She handed me the change and the receipt rolled up in a bundle. I was so embarrassed, and thought, “See, don’t try to be friendly with people who have to deal with chatty customers. Leave people alone!”
Just as I’m about to lift up my three bags of grocery, she leans over, until within inches away from my ear.
Oh oh! When strangers lean that closely they’re usually about to warn you about something very embarrassing…spinach in your teeth that kind of things…
She whispers, very graciously, with an Australian or southern accent, “I got them at RAINBOW FASHION STORE.”
Not Armani. Rainbow Fashion Store.
I had no idea what state “Rainbow Fashion Store” is in. Just as I wanted to follow up with rapid firing of questions about Rainbow Fashion Store, where it is, is it online, do they mail order, what other colors are available, etc., etc., I thought, why destroy the moment?
Most women would have blurted out the store name. But she said everything with seriousness and a bit of shyness. I can’t really describe how it went.
“Oh really!” I whispered in a tone of female conspiracy. Hush, don’t say a word.
Then she said, “Happy new year!”
Then this came out from the bottom of my heart, “Happy New Year!!!” What is about January 1, 2010 that is so special? I can’t put my finger on it.