Close Encounters of the Weird Kind

When you buy your groceries at Hy-Vee *cue mysterious voice* strange things happen.
(Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic. Today I bought my groceries at Hy-Vee. And something strange happened.)

Curtis and the boys and I managed a relatively smooth trip there this afternoon. I swear, we're still struggling with the logistics of this "three little kids" thing - so sometimes I'm exhausted and short-tempered by the time I even get them all dressed to leave the house - but we had a pretty easy day today (insert Hallelujah chorus here). Anyway, we completed our necessary shopping and made it out of there for under $30 (woot!). I was putting the groceries in the back of our Jeep while Curtis got the kids buckled into their seats, and when I turned around to grab the next bag, I nearly jumped out of my effing skin - a woman had appeared out of nowhere and was standing thisclose to me.

She was an older lady, I'd say mid-sixties. (Yes Mom. I just referred to someone a smidgen older than you as "an older lady." But remember that I once also thought 30 was old.) She was round, her brown hair streaked with gray, styled into a fluffy puffball of curls atop her head. She had on some sort of grandma-esque embroidered sweater that buttoned up the front, and her cheeks were flushed. Rosy. She reminded me of, like, a cross between my high school home ec teacher, Mrs. Haynes, and Mrs. Claus. As in Santa's wife. 

I don't have a picture of Mrs. Haynes for reference so you'll have to, you know, use your imaginations and stuff.

Out of the blue, the lady spoke. "I used to work here for two years, and I liked being out with the people," she said.

Right away when she spoke I thought she was either drunk or doped up on painkillers or something. Her speech was just a little too slurred. And my eyes gravitated instantly toward her teeth, which were varying shades - some pearly white, some buttery yellow, in no particular pattern. Like this:

Mmm, coooorrrrn.

Anyway, despite thinking WTF?, I just nodded and smiled politely. Then she went on: "But I don't think my back can handle lifting the heavy stuff. It's iffy."

"I don't blame you," I said after a brief hesitation, which totally did not make sense but I was just too caught off-guard to think of anything coherent. (And anyway, judging by this lady's behavior, she wouldn't have known "coherent" if it came up and bit her in the ass.)

After letting her weird-old-lady gaze rest on me for a few seconds longer, she turned and headed toward the store.

Curtis closed the car door and grinned at me. "What was that about?" he asked.

What, indeed?

I'm still wondering.


  1. It's okay, I also attract the crazies. Normally in the park when I have a baby latched to my boob. Cos that's the best time to have a chat with a stranger right?

  2. You do seem to have some crazy things happen to you when you are out! I remember when Grandma, Becky and I were visting you one time and we were at a drive-thru getting our food, when this man came up and stood right by your door while you were trying to order your food and you don't even remember what you ordered. Come to find out it was the produce man and after you were done placing your order he told the guy to open the back door because the produce was here. He was a strange looking guy and I do believe I couldn't stop laughing.

  3. Alex - Do we have neon signs over our head saying, "Stop Here if You're a Freak!?" Good Lord.

    Julie - Yes, creepy to the max! Makes me wonder what she did after she went into the store.

    Sis - YES!!! OMG, I had forgotten about that guy! I was ordering our food at Steak & Shake when he just walked right up to the window and stood there! I thought he was going to ask me for money or something and he made me sooo nervous. LOL! Weird.

  4. Nah, you just had a Close Encounter of the Nice & Lonely kind - a time for you to be nice because it was a tine she is lonely. A little bit toooooo lonely if she invaded your space but I think you handled it perfectly! Most people would have been horribly rude. You're my hero - really!

  5. I not only have a neon sign on my forehead but it blinks. FREAKS WANTED.

  6. Almost makes me sad....... I wonder if she just needed some attention or human contact or something? Perhaps? I think you did great though. Sometimes a little acknowledgement goes a long long way!

  7. Everytime I eat corn now I'm going to think about that lady!
    I hate it when people 'invade' my space. I bet she wanted a peek at the children.

  8. I've encountered people like that. One time an old lady came up to me and said I was too young to have two children and shame on me. I was all, "But I'm 27!" and she was all, "Don't you lie to me!" ?????

  9. SOOOOOO FUNNY!! Don't "those" people normally fill the low paying position of "Gleeful Greeter" at Walmart?...I'm still laughing about corncob teeth....

  10. Oh, I do this sometimes.
    It's like I think we're already in the middle of a conversation and I just NOW begin to open my mouth and share it with you.

  11. I consider events like this to be the cosmos' way of providing entertainment...

  12. Nan - You are too kind! But I agree, she probably was lonely (with a healthy dose of "weird" thrown in!).

    Grammie - Some seem to attract more than others. Maybe we give off invisible "freaks welcome" vibes?

    Stepfabulous - I got the feeling she was kind of lonely, but I also got the feeling she was kind of drunk. Or something.

    Chic Mama - Every time I think of that lady, I'm going to want corn! I'm already mourning the end of the harvest season and the beautiful Iowa corn we had ... with butter ... mmmmm ... what? You were saying?

    Amber - I would have been very, very afraid. You never know what volatile old ladies will resort to!

    Tessa - I'm not sure, but I know that some of the greeters at MY Wal-Mart aren't all that gleeful!

    JenJen - So are you going to be a strange old lady who has random and awkward encounters with perfect strangers? :)

    Michele - Fantastic point! "Life is like a box of chocolates ..."

    Jen - I knoooooow! But it made for a good blog topic, so it was kind of a tradeoff. :)

  13. Bless her heart! She was probably lonely AND drunk, or hadn't taken some of her meds properly. You reacted well, though, and I'll bet it made her day that some nice young woman talked to her! That's my girl! :o)

  14. No! NO! WHy did you include the teeth/corn reference? I am gagging right now. I'm sick!

  15. Mom - I should know how to handle weirdos. I learned from the best, since you deal with them day in and day out! ;)

    Sara - LOL! Sorry! I guess I should have included a "read at your own risk" disclaimer?

  16. You are right, our unexpected interactions with crazies are so similar. And thanks for the shout out to Mrs. Haynes...that gave me a really good laugh.

  17. Jenn - I'm so glad at least someone knows who I'm talking about ... because this lady really was more Mrs. Haynes than Mrs. Claus. :)


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