I Can Hear It Now

I was wandering around the grocery store the other day and must have looked totally impressive in my worn-out jeans and holey sweatshirt with coffee drools running down the front because a man with a bow tie, resembling the store manager, asked me if I needed to work. Holy cow, a job? Nobody has ever offered me a job, just for standing around trying to figure out if I wanted to buy one-ply or two-ply toilet paper. It was a first.

I had seen the sign on the front of the store reading, “Help Wanted” and knew that many businesses are having trouble hiring employees right now, but I didn’t realize they were desperate enough to randomly hit on me, gray hair and wrinkles. In my life I have only seen “not enough jobs” never “too many jobs,” but I’m at that point in life that just when I think I’ve seen it all, something else jumps out at me, and I think, “What the heck?”

I ignored him. I had engrossed myself in the toilet paper decision, calculating cost per wipe and that kind of thing and I don’t need a job, don’t want to get up every morning and comb my hair, put on make-up, or worry about whether I look presentable. I like what I do, writing about nothing, sometimes making people laugh. Why would he think I needed work, other than I was dressed inappropriately—or like I needed a job—even if I was only shopping for TP?

He asked me the same question again, and I said something to the effect of, “Are you some kind of nut? Why do you think I want a job?” I was probably a little too abrupt, perhaps I should have softened the profanity, and he rolled his eyes at me and left. I was totally baffled. My appearance alone violated every rule of getting a job, and I had no intention of applying for anything.

I settled on two-ply and proceeded down the next aisle, hoping I wouldn’t run into him again. I had forgotten that I needed hearing aid batteries, but just then my battery reminded me it was dead with a soft, but annoying, chime. I like to hear everything that’s going on, so I picked up a package and replaced them right then and there, and I was delighted once again to hear all kinds of chattering and music and cash register noises.

Mr. Bowtie appeared again, ignoring me, as he should after my previous rant, but asked another shopper who was also stalking the hearing aid kiosk, “Do you need a clerk?” I looked at him and realized what he had been asking me all along. Danged ears. Danged hearing aids. So sorry, Mr. Bowtie.

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