Saturday, December 13, 2008

People are crazy

Today was proof that the world is filled with people whose only purpose in life is to drive me crazy. Or proof that I deserve my own reality show.

I have a firm anti-weekend shopping policy during the holiday season. The stores are just too crowded and crazy. But I had to go out to the big chain drugstore to pick up a prescription and photo cards of the Prince and Princess. One stop, a drugstore, how bad could it be?

Actually, it wasn't too crowded. But it was off the charts crazy.

I walked back to the pharmacy pick up counter and noticed an older gentleman standing about five feet back from the counter and off to one side. He was hunched over with age and his coat hung from his thin body.

I figured he was waiting for someone, but, being polite, I asked him if he was in line.

He turned and snarled -- snarled -- "Yessss," using that "well duh" tone and giving me an eat-shit-and-die look that I thought only my children and high school girls were capable of.

I briefly considered running out to the car and using the drive thru to avoid being around when he started shooting, but didn't want to move too fast and startle him. I decided that if I stood real still and stopped breathing, he might forget I was there. Besides, those scrawny little arms wouldn't be able to hold a gun with much kick.

Along came a sweet looking little old lady with a walker -- obviously who he was waiting for, right? Of course not.

She asked if I was the end of the line. Psycho Man glared at both of us, and I half-turned to answer her, watching him out of the corner of my eye. I wondered if I could use her as a shield, or if I would just end up tripping over her walker when I ran away.

Finally it was Psycho Man's turn at the counter. I slowly edged up to where the line normally would be, but hung back behind him by about two feet. God knows I didn't want him to feel crowded and nervous! Besides, I figured that gave me enough space to make my get away.

I was still concentrating on not listening to the conversation between Psycho Man -- except for words like "kill" and "gun" -- and making myself very small and inconspicuous, when two more ladies joined the line. We'll call them Snippy Lady and Hippy Lady.

Snippy Lady asked in a very loud and, well, snippy voice, "Is there a reason this line is so far back?" Psycho Man turned to glare at her, but of course, I was the first in his line of sight.

Now I wasn't sure which side I would get it from first. I turned to Snippy and tried to explain that I was giving Psycho Man a little extra space. I spoke quietly so I wouldn't attract his attention (or gunfire).

"What? I can't understand you," Snippy Lady spoke slowly and loudly because, obviously, I was either deaf or a blithering idiot.

I checked to make sure Psycho Man was still busy with the pharmacist (and not drawing a bead on me with his rifle), then turned to Snippy and said "He was giving the person ahead of him a extra space, so I'm just trying to give him little space." I spoke a little louder this time, and tried to use hand gestures to indicate "space," and "back off bitch," without actually flipping her off.

That's when we landed smack dab in the middle of Bizarre-o Land. I was waving my hands around saying "a little extra space." Hippie Lady piped up, "I think that's discrimination." Huh? What the? And Sweet Little Old Walker Lady said "I think it's so we don't all catch what he has."

I turned back to Psycho Man, fully expecting the worst. He gave us all a quick scowl, then tucked his head and took off out of there with surprising speed. Apparently three women yammering nonsensically were enough to scare him off. If only I hand known that before!

Unfortunately, the pharmacist also disappeared. Still wondering how I was discriminating against him, I turned to Hippy and Snippy and tried to explained once more. I thought they finally understood, but then Hippy said "I think it's so nice you 'signed' it to us."

"Yes," said Snippy, "I wish I knew sign language. How did you learn it?"

Oh. My. God.

No, it wasn't sign language, I just move my hands a lot when I talk, I said. Psycho Man may not have shot me dead, but now surely I was dying of embarrassment.

That would be a great place to end this story, but while we were waiting for the pharmacist to return, Little Old Walker Lady shared this with us. Back in the '60s, a friend of hers used to do sign language interpretation for the State of California. One night she was suffering from a head cold, and was not really "with it." She couldn't figure out why the audience thought the speech about water treatment was so funny. Later someone explained she had signed "My Mother and I cooked a turkey and put it in the toilet."

Yeah, I know how she feels.

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