As I mopped up the remnants of the salt and snow still lingering on my hardwood floors from moving day, I reflected upon the array of varied encounters I’d just had at the local grocery store. Giving Kelly Clarkson and Kid Rock a run for their money as I boldly belted out and occasionally butchered their lyrics over the sound of the stereo… I shook my head, smiled and laughed to myself.
You’ve gotta love life in a small town. Or not. I don’t really care. It’s just that there are times when this unique existence is not for the faint of heart. Like, for example, when you’ve recently (and apparently shockingly to some) quit your “perfectly good job” to run off with some guy to the big city in pursuit of a brand NEW life. Just. Like. That.
It was a perfectly normal Tuesday afternoon in the booming metropolis of Minerva, Ohio (population 3,500… give or take) when I entered the grocery store in jeans and Uggs to buy some milk, cereal and cleaning supplies for the remainder of my time here. You know… to tie up loose ends, get my teeth cleaned, have lunch with a few friends and such before Stanley and I hit the interstate in search of concrete pastures.
I wasn’t even inside the automatic doors when I received my first interrogation. The second came in the produce department, another in the chip aisle and still another in frozen foods. Everyone… Everyone seemed bent on me answering three questions: Did you take the day off from work? Do you have a job yet in the city? Have you set a date?
Did you notice in my account of these interractions that no one… NOT ONE PERSON asked me if I was happy or excited about my engagement and new adventure? Everyone just sort of looked at me with scowls of confusion, concern or disbelief. Perhaps even shock and awe as they each, one by one—in the entryway, produce department, chip aisle and frozen foods—tilted their heads to the side as if to say: “Huh. I hear the words that are coming out of your mouth but I have no clue as to what you’re actually saying.”
Now what they really said to me was some version of: “Well then, my very best to you dear. Tell your parents I said hi.” And I happily pushed my cart forward… straight into the grasp of the next, fun, little Q&A’s. The future batch of opinions that will surely be waiting for me…
… At the check-out counter… in the parking lot… at the gas pump… the teller window… the waiting room…