Wooo! More of our little storyline! You can read the first part here, if you fancy. The end of this storyline I think is gonna drop on this Weds. (Scratch one life goal of telling people “something is going to drop” on a given day. Next up, saying, “Watch out for that volcano!” and meaning it.)

Has something like this ever happened to anyone else, where you’re exposed to something you know you’re supposed to hate, and you think you do hate, but you end up loving it? This happens to me every once and a while, the most recent time being just the other day.

I was at the supermarket, buying my usual sacks of vegetarian slop and cereal designed for first graders, when this older woman, maybe 70 years old, rushes at my cart from the other end of the aisle. She is in a straight-up sprint, and once she gets within about 6 feet of me, she hops sort of like I imagine a giant deer tick would, latching on to the left flank of my cart. Then, she opens her mouth wide, clamps down on the side of my cart and starts sloppily suckling at the latticed plastic. Not like you would a straw, but as if you were trying to enjoy a gigantic piece of hard candy far too big for your mouth and had lost all your internalized social conventions of what is appropriate, I.E., there was a lot of airy gulping and drooling.

Now, until this point, I always thought I would have hated an old, inappropriately dexterous woman leaping onto my cart and trying to ingest it like some kind of paper wasp, but it turns out I was wrong. It was actually kind of nice to have someone to talk to as I was shopping. She helped me pick out some good cheeses and once swung one of her withered, jagged talons at a fat child who stumbled too close to our cart. He ran off crying, terrified at her agility and clicking, cicada-esque growl. Boy, did we share a laugh over that one! Well, I laughed anyway. She just resumed her wet suckle of my cart, but I could tell by her red, darting eyes that she thought it was funny too.

When it came time to check out, I bought her an Almond Joy and joked with the clerk about how much she smelled like copper and old milk. In the parking lot, after I  loaded my car up, I gently shoved my cart into the outdoor collection bin. She stayed there, tethered to my cart with her merciless grip and surround by plenty more plastic to feast on.

Anyway, moral of the story: Always be open to new experiences. It might seem sensible to fear a frenzied retiree that defies your preconceptions of the elderly and humans in general, but I took a risk and ended up making a friend that day. When everything is said and done, isn’t that what matters most in life?

<3 Mike