One thing I really like to do with my life is watch Super Soul Sunday on the OWN Network every weekend and then immediately haul ass to the New Age section of my local Barnes and Noble in order to impulsively buy every book ever related to that day’s topic while telling myself that it doesn’t count as spending money because it’s food for my spirit, and spirit knows no money so I’m good. Or something.
Anyway. So this is what I was doing recently when, out of the fucking blue, some random dude tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I don’t much care for it.”
If you’re craving a little more context right now, here’s the set up:
- Me: Wearing a dark gray hoodie-tee-shirt (yes, I dress like a tween on the weekends) and a Patriots hat. I have an open copy of The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav in my hand and, up until the aggressive shoulder-tap from the rando in aisle seven, am reading it with zeal.
- The Shoulder-Tapper: White male. Appears to be in his forties or fifties. Kind of out of shape but not necessarily fat. Wearing a blue sweatshirt, jeans, and Nike running sneakers. Is kind of twitchy but has the general look of a normal person.
One might reasonably assume that by saying “I don’t much care for it,” the guy was informing me that he had read The Seat of the Soul and was not a fan. Which is what I assumed (and took major offense to, side note, because anybody who “doesn’t much care” for a book that Oprah credits as changing the very direction of her life back in 1989 is clearly a bad a person and probably a hazard to society) at first.
But then he was like, “I used to live in New Rochelle.” And then he paused and took a dramatic breath in, and I was like…?
My first thought was that maybe he was going to say something about my Patriots hat – something along the lines of “I used to live in New Rochelle… and I too am a Patriots fan, so it was rough being in New York during that time. But then I moved to Connecticut and now people are slightly more open to my New England affiliation, but we’re still close enough to the New York border that, well, I don’t much care for it.“
Instead he followed up with “…until my house got flooded.”
So then in my head I was all, Okay so either he’s going to ask me to make a donation to his cause, or he’s going to murder me.
“And then after the house got flooded,” he continued, “I left and moved to a really nice place up in the Catskills. It was beautiful, new, and surrounded by nature. But then that house got flooded too. So I got another house right after that, but then that one went up in flames and I was put in jail for two weeks until they were able to prove that the fire actually started from the dryer and I had nothing to do with it – which is what I told them all along, but nobody believed me.”
What I might have said in my head if I was as enlightened as I hope to someday be:
- Aw, I’m honored that this nice man is sharing such personal details of his history with me. We’re all one, and I see myself in him. I sincerely wish him luck in finding a living situation that doesn’t involve catastrophe and disaster. I shall hug and bless him now.
What I actually said in my head:
- WHY IS NOBODY COMING TO MY RESCUE?! OMG, I feel like Sarah Michelle Gellar in I Know What You Did Last Summer when the killer is like, maiming her with a hook by the large stack of tires and nobody knows about it even though it’s all happening in the midst of a busy parade and you would THINK that one couldn’t get murdered during something as public as a fucking PARADE but somehow there was no one else there in that little area with all the tires at the time, much like how there’s no one else here in the NEW AGE BOOK SECTION OF AN OTHERWISE WELL-POPULATED BARNES AND NOBLE.
What I said out loud:
- “Oof. That’s rough, man. Sorry to hear it.”
And then he was all, “Yeah—” and then I cut him off and said, “Okay, well, take it easy!” and I immediately darted to the bargain books because there were a solid four people in that section.
I managed to avoid him for the rest of my duration in the store until I left to go have pizza with two friends of mine, both of whom were as confused as I was when I gave a dramatic retelling of the event.
“Why does weird shit always happen to you?” they both asked.
“I don’t know…” I replied. “Maybe because the Universe knows I’m always running out of things to blog about?”
And then we all nodded in agreement.