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Posts Tagged ‘they were penguin pajamas — all class’

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NTKOG #106: The kind of well-intentioned busybody who can’t see a stranger let out a lovelorn sigh without immediately demanding all the details then attempting to caulk his broken heart.

I am: completely ill at ease when expected to comfort someone face-to-face.

I am not: interested in your woes, Lonelyheart. Get a blog, then we’ll talk.

The Scene: The Trader Joe’s by Sister’s house, Saturday night around 8:30, in a state of serious disarray. I’ve spent the past few hours in a blue mood — that particular “my first high school boyfriend is fucking engaged, and here I am, unemployed and wearing pajamas on a Saturday night” mood, if you happen to know it. Gathered my few purchases in the entirely empty store, then headed to the check-out.

Before I could take my earbuds out, the check-out guy asked how I was — I’m well, thanks. You? — and as I’m taking my headphones out, he says what looks like, “I’m doing well,” but is just one syllable too many. Surely he couldn’t have said — I mean, don’t he know there’s a protocol? — it’s inconceivable that he might have answered–

“I could be better,” he repeated, to my involuntary look of uptight honorary-New-Englander feelings-inspired mortification. “No, I guess I should keep it professional.”

Um, yeah. You should. But instead of smiling weakly and praying for him to speed up the process, I asked him what was wrong.

Trader Joe’s Clerk: No, don’t worry about it, it doesn’t have to be your problem. I should have kept it professional.
TKOG: I mean, life sucks enough without having to lie about who you are forty hours a week.
TJC: I cheated on my girlfriend.

Yikes. The clerk, incidentally, was cute in that over-expressive-faced European way. He looked like the drummer from Green Day with shorter hair. His eyes were red-rimmed. To my horror, they started watering.

He went on to tell me how his girlfriend had gone out of town and his ex had come to visit, asked to stay with him. He’d told her she had to sleep on the couch, but somehow….

“She tricked me! She manipulated me!”

“Yeah, we’re like that sometimes, women.”

After his tale of woe, I asked if he loved the girlfriend (yes) and said that, in my humble opinion, I didn’t see how he could do much better than making sure she could see he loved her and trying to earn her trust back. He thanked me and relinquished the bag of groceries he’d been holding hostage during the few minutes of our chat. Then put on my Garth and headed back out into my home-bound Saturday night, braless, pajama-clad, a guru.

The Verdict: Please don’t talk to me about your emotional woes in real life. I do not like it. I like to read about it, gchat about it, even sometimes talk on the phone about it, but in real life I do not know where to put my eyes when you want me to look into your soul.

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