I have this annoyance/dislike/semi-hate relationship with a cart attendant at my local supermarket. Let’s call him Robert, since that’s his name. He’s a fifty something black dude with a Barry White baritone to his voice and . . well, that’s it. There’s nothing else even remotely cool about Robert, outside of the Barry White baritone.
Robert likes to sing spirituals as he works, and he’s really quite shitty at it. This annoys me. I mean, if ya got Barry White voice and you can’t tuck a lick of soul into the equation, donate your voice to someone who can . . . please?
This cat is eccentric as all get out, and I ain’t judging. Hell, me judging someone based on their eccentricities would be like Alec Baldwin calling anyone a blowhard. (Too soon?) Anyways, Robert wears long sleeve shirts inside the dog days of summer. He talks up the ladies with a rap that should have been retired back when lava lamps and shag carpets were de rigueur. He snorts when he talks to himself, after which he immediately says excuse me! He spits, after which he doesn’t immediately apologize at all.
Yes, I’m building a case against Robert . . so I feel the need to winnow away his dimension in order to lodge my grievance. You see . . Robert has never greeted me. Never as in ever. It took a couple of silent rebuffs on his part before I stopped greeting him.
Honestly, I don’t get it. I mean . . I didn’t run over his dog in the parking lot. I didn’t disrespect his mama. I didn’t piss in his Cheerios or snicker at his station in life or issue a robust series of guffaws the first time I got a look at him all bundled up in a ski jacket during a heat wave.
And then recently . . this happened.
“Heeeey! How you doing sir! Good to see you!”
I was floored. Just like that, Robert decided that he was going to glasnost my ass with a greeting, as if we were long lost friends on Facebook or something. He had successfully punctured the bubble of silence that had created a crater sized chasm between us. He was extending an olive branch, sans the Martini, but hey . . it still counts.
This is where my prefrontal cortex hit the snooze. Because I figured that with the long silence yoked, the embargo on words had been lifted. It was a new day- One where me and Robert could exchange bad jokes, avoid any talk about the weather and excuse our respective snorts. It was as if all those years of Robert treating me like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense never happened. I was ready to forgive and forget, because isn’t that what life’s all about?
“Hey Robert, how are you?” I replied.
And then reality crash landed on my head when I discovered that I wasn’t the recipient of Robert’s greeting after all. Robert was talking to the elderly gentleman walking behind me. And then they were engaged in conversation, while I muttered to myself in four lettered variables for having been so clueless.
His latest move was so diabolically crafted that I have been left with no choice but to respond with something equally petty. Because, isn’t that what life’s all about? Maybe I’ll stop returning my cart to the corral. Or maybe I’ll return it to the corral but push it in backwards. Or maybe I’ll turn it upside down . . or push it into the grassy meadow.
The possibilities are endless.