I recently visited the same Walgreens twice in just a couple of days for some photo printing. And this post is a dedication to the photo desk clerk there. I confess, most of this post will be about something I "overheard" myself say to this clerk. But then I got to witness someone else be a part of the magic which pleased me greatly. I shall begin.
The first time, I walked straight to the desk and let her know I needed to pick up some photo prints. She said,
And, as my brain often does, it froze for a split second, not entirely understanding the obvious intention behind such a question. This happens all the time. Like I pause and think, what does she mean? Does she want to know the purpose of my photos? Like what I plan to do with them? And then i tell myself, no Jen, that's stupid. Why would she give a flip. Every once in a while I can pause long enough to recognize the absurd from reality and give the correct response. But sometimes I don't and it's truly embarrassing.
Quick example: I was recently in a long stretch of hallway in the upper floors of a hotel waiting for the elevator. A cleaning person was around the corner and called out,
"are you there?"
or something like it. Well, thinking she might be talking to me (why? why would she say this to me, speak so familiarly to me. Whyyyy), I called out,
"Yes? You want me to hold it for you?"
Ha ha ha. So idiotic. No, turns out she was talking to her colleague, also cleaning rooms. Because that actually makes sense. And I quickly dove into the eventual elevator and got the hey out of there. Ohh anyway. It makes me laugh but yeah, i do it a lot.
Fortunately, this time I was able to keep my wits about me but only just. I replied/half blurted,
"Morello, Jennifer. You want my name, right?" Yes, Jen, idiot. Also, giving the last name first is also funny to me.
She was this tall, quiet woman with gray hair, and who gave the air of giving no effs. And I somehow felt like I needed to step in line (figuratively) and soldier up to receive her service, which explained my desire to anticipate her need and offer my last name first. But yeah- don't chit chat- get in, get out. Like the soup nazi, but the photo desk at Walgreens. The kind of person whose quiet manner turns you into a bumbling idiot but you still want them to like you, to deem worthy to help. She never was angry or short. Just did not bother with pleasantries, and I really respect that. I got my photos and got out without further incident.
I went back a few days later for another print job. This time, a customer was in front of me, a young woman. And I heard her fall prey to the piercing stare/don't-make-small-talk/makes you feel like an idiot desk clerk and I relished it. The woman conversationally said,
"This will be the least expensive thing I buy today!"
"Ok," was the reply.
And that was all. It was awkward, and I felt so happy.
When it was my turn I knew just what to say, but then because I was feeling so cheery and also bold, I said to this woman who I was now trying to be friends with for some reason,
"Would it be annoying if i rang that bell to see what it sounds like?"For on the counter was a tiny red cowbell with a "ring for service" sign. She said, "no." I rang it, and she said in her special, straight forward, straight faced, almost "you're dumb" but not quite- way,
"It sounds like a cowbell." Because that's what it is, simpleton. What did you expect?
I said, "Yes it does. A cowbell." What did I expect? I am a simpleton.
And I left and now we are best friends.