I think Colorado's getting to me.
When I lived in Texas, it was pretty much standard procedure to talk to the person next to you in line at the grocery store, the bank, Taco Delite, etc. Say what you will about the Lone Star State, but you can't deny that people are friendly there, even if you're never quite sure whether or not they're being genuine.
Now I'm not saying people aren't friendly here. I'm just saying that I've become accustomed to making a round trip through the grocery store without speaking to or making eye contact with anyone. I'm also saying that when the lady behind me in line at the grocery store today asked me if the juice I was buying was good, I had to fight the urge to jump back and yell, "BACK OFF WEIRDO! GET YOUR OWN JUICE!" Luckily I was able to reign it in and reply with a polite laugh and a "Yes, it's kinda sour."
That is exactly the second time someone has talked to me in the grocery store since I moved here almost 2 years ago*. The first time was just after Sarah had moved up here. We were buying some apples and we dropped one. It rolled toward this young-ish married couple and the husband bent down to pick it up. This was a bit of a shock in itself, because for some reason I can't explain, I expected him to kick it as hard as he could across the floor and tell us to go fetch, or maybe just smash it into a juicy pulp with his heel and then yell for grocery store security to apprehend us. Instead, he handed it to Sarah and whispered, with one hand covering the side of his face, "Just put it back." We both laughed out of sheer surprise, mumbled a thank you, and stared in disbelief as he and his wife smiled kindly at us as they walked away. I might be making this part up, but I feel like the wife winked at us, and if I remember correctly, they both had wings and halos.
*This is not including the ridiculous number of times women have stopped Gary in the middle of an aisle to ask him if he'll get something off the top shelf for them. Seriously? Why don't you bring your own strapping young man with you when you go shopping? This one's taken.
What I've been talking about here is strictly confined to my fellow grocery shoppers. Store employees are a completely different story. It seems like a trip to the grocery store just isn't complete until you've had an awkward conversation with the checker or been stared down by that blonde kid with the fohawk at Safeway who has a not-so-secret crush on your sister. Here are some excerpts from a few of my favorites:
Checker: Would you like to donate a dollar to prostate cancer?
Sarah: Oh, no thanks.
Our Friend Samantha: You don't wanna donate to prostate cancer???
Checker: I know, she's killing me.
Sarah (inwardly): Does this checker have prostate cancer?
Why she didn't actually ask him out loud, I'll never understand.
I'll set up the scene for you on this next one: I was buying tomato paste and potato chips because we were having hot link sandwiches for dinner and Gary makes his own barbecue sauce...out of tomato paste. Enter the kid who I'm pretty sure lives at the corner market down the street because he is ALWAYS there.
Kid: So what are you making?
Me: Hot link sandwiches.
All: (Awkward Silence)
Me: My uh.....husband makes really good barbecue sauce.
Kid: (Wondering what the hell that has to do with potato chips and tomato paste)
Me: That's what the tomato paste is for...we're just gonna eat the chips.
Kid: Oh, cool. What's in it?
Me: Uh......tomato paste.....brown sugar....I don't know, just take my money and let me get out of here because I'm too stupid to talk to you.
This last one's my personal favorite. I didn't actually include the most awkward conversations, because most of them involve creepy, middle aged men being creepy, and I don't find that funny in blogs or real life. What I do find funny is what the little boy who just got promoted from bagger to checker at King Soopers asked me the other day.
Little Boy: Did you check your eggs?
Little Boy: Did they look like eggs?
Baha. Hah. I just wanna pinch his little cheeks.
Editor's Note: Gary says I'm not old enough to refer to a 16 year old as a "cute little boy" until I'm at least 35, so I changed it to just "little boy", but you all know what I'm really saying.
Regarding the Editor's Note: When he read the Editor's Note and got fake-upset, I assured Gary that that boy is a child and therefore he needn't worry. He then reminded me that he was 16 when I met him. The difference is that I was also 16 when I met him. I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't think I'm quite ready to become a cougar at the age of 24.