When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. ~ Elayne Boosler
I was at Target last week doing some shopping, or rather being dragged along as my wife did some shopping for our grandson, Logan, for some back to pre-school clothes. Yes, that’s part of what grandparents do.
I don’t shop in the truest sense of the word. I go to the store that has what I want. I find it. I buy it. I leave. That’s how it’s done, or at least how it should be done.
Walking around for two or three hours looking at things doesn’t cut it with me. I have no interest in looking at things I don’t intend to buy. I don’t even understand that concept. It makes no sense to me.
I guess I have the hunter instinct. For the most part, men are hunters; women are gatherers. Men know exactly what they’re looking for. They go search out their pray, kill it and bring it home.
Women admire all the animals in the forest, compare one to another, pick one out, then put it back and choose a different one, buy it toys, buy it clothes, put it back along with all the toys and clothes, pick out yet another one, and the cycle goes on and on and on. Then they return home after eight hours at the mall and announce, “I couldn’t find anything I liked.”
It goes without saying that if I’m in the Target store, a visit to Starbuck’s is on the schedule. That’s a no-brainer. I’m going to interrupt myself for a minute here. Why is it that we say, “It goes without saying,” and then we say it anyway? If it goes without saying we should just shut up about it, don’t you think. We humans are a strange bunch, or at least you are.
So anyway, as I started to tell you; I stopped by the Starbuck’s that’s located inside the Target store. All summer I’ve been drinking Café Americano’s; three shots of espresso poured over ice with just a little water added, but on this visit to my favorite caffeine emporium, I switched back to my cold weather favorite; a Triple-Grande Skinny Vanilla Cappuccino – three shots of espresso, skim milk, sugar-free vanilla syrup and lots of foam. Tasty! And powerful!
I ordered my cappuccino, picked it up at the counter and grabbed a seat next to the window in the dining area that serves both the Starbuck’s and the Target snack bar, anticipating I’d have at least thirty to forty minutes to relax and people-watch before my wife wrapped up her shopping excursion and was ready to go home. I could see Logan and her still zipping up and down the aisles, flanked by a small army of students from Stonehill, Wheaton, Oliver Ames High and a myriad of other students whose school affiliations were proudly displayed on the Tee’s and sweat shirts they wore.
I had just taken the first sip of my drink when a man who I’d guess to have been in his early to mid-forties sat down at the table next to me. I looked over at him; he nodded and I nodded back. He then removed his sneakers, tucked them neatly under his chair, pulled up his socks and headed over to the snack bar.
I thought it a bit strange for a grown man to be walking around a store in his stocking feet, but I’ve seen much crazier things in my life so I just kind of chuckled under my breath and took another sip of my cappuccino.
A few minutes later, the man returned carrying two individual-sized pizzas, which he placed on his table before scurrying to the back of the dining area to get a drink from the soda machine. He then returned to his table, opened up one of the pizza boxes, removed a piece of pizza and took a huge bite out of it, leaving nothing more than a small piece of crust which he then dropped back into the box.
As he hoisted another piece of pizza to his lips, a powerful odor like that of very ripe, nasty-smelling cheese flew up my nose like curds of prey. It was an overpowering, pungent odor like gorgonzola that had been left out to rot in the hot sun.
I pushed my chair back a bit, hoping to escape the disgusting stench but to no avail. It was as though the odor had permeated the entire room.
I glanced over to see if I could catch a glimpse of the pizza, hoping I might be able to figure out what it was that made it smell so bad, but there was no pizza to be seen. My ravenous neighbor had devoured both pizzas in a matter of minutes and had headed to the back of the dining room to throw the empty boxes in the trash and get another drink.
Now that the pizza was gone, the horrendous odor of rancid cheese that had hung over the entire area seemed to have subsided for the most part. I took another sip of my cappuccino, wondering how anyone could possibly eat a pizza that smelled that nasty.
As I set my cup down on the table, my pizza-eating friend returned with his drink, sat down at the table, pulled a book from his back pack and put his feet up on the chair to his left, about three feet from where I was sitting.
Suddenly, the stink of rotten cheese hit me square in the face again. I looked around the room for the culprit; the one who was fouling the air with their nasty-smelling pizza, but there was no offender to be found.
Two young girls were seated across the room sharing a bag of popcorn. Surely, they weren‘t the culprits. Next to them was a large group of high school kids seated at three tables they had pushed together, but there was no pizza to be found. Most of the others in the room were sipping on drinks from Starbuck’s.
The guy next to me unzipped his backpack and knocked his drink to the floor, barely missing my foot. As I bent down to pick up his cup for him, my face moved to within a few inches of his feet which were still perched on the chair next to me.
I nearly vomited! The odor was nauseating; resembling the stench of very old limburger more than gorgonzola. The rancid cheese smell that had filled the room wasn’t rancid cheese after all. It was this guy’s feet!
I dropped his empty cup on the table, grabbed my cappuccino and made a dash for the exit.
This could have only happened to me!
It’s been well over a week since that fateful day at Starbucks and I still can’t get it out of my head – or my nose!
I’m going to close now. I have to go flush my nasal passages with saline.
Make it a great week!