I ran into this lady I used to know from a while back. Every time I see her I recognize her instantly, but I can never remember if it's for a good reason or a bad reason. She's like a siren that way, and I float towards her with glazed eyes, my mind hastily scanning all my files. (Pretty..... has an accent): Oh hi.
(Zza Zza?...Slavic?...parent?)...Nice to see you too.
(strands of loose hair on jacket....standing too close...crazy eyes) Okay. Yeah. Well--
At once, the memory drops in and Sherlock Holmes describes it while we continue talking.
(We met at a parent night at school 4 years ago. Both single mothers, we sat together near the back of the room and she talked the entire time I was trying to listen to the teacher: She used to walk everywhere but had injured her foot somehow and was now stuck at home. She had no income but was collecting disability...) I'm rushing, so sorry
(She started in on how she was still on medication but liked to have a glass of wine at 5 o'clock) Well you gotta do what you gotta do
(She followed me down through the frozen foods, past dairy, past meats...didn't even stop to take a breath) I think my meter might be...
I emptied out all my non-verbal clues, distress signals and then rude behavior; sometimes you just have to cut and release. I said "goodbye, so sorry, gotta..." and then of course by the time I got to the check out line I felt simultaneously exhausted and ashamed of myself. Every single one of my granny/old Italian Aunt/nosy landlady interior voices came out full force: What? You can't have a simple conversation for 3 minutes out of your life? That could be you! That is you! Miss High and Mighty in a rush blablabladdiddybla...
Then my protective guard came out and yelled back: That woman is batshit crazy. She's probably still talking back there to the coffee grinder; she doesn't care. You are in a rush...
And then there's a full-on London Football stadium mob fight going on in my head: screaming, shoves, kicks, head butts.
The sweet store clerk starts taking the things out of my basket and ringing them through, "How are you doing tonight"
I take a deep breath, feeling suddenly too warm with my jacket. "Fine Thanks", and I reach in my pocket, fishing for my card.