My Dear, You Look Radishing


Sometimes you just have to know when to run for it. That fight or flight response kicks in and you know that punches will be less effective than a trail of dust, so you kick up your heels and get out of dodge. I had an experience like this once in a local grocery store, and while there was no pedal to the metal, I did make good time on the aisle corners with that buggy. Like a million others before me, all I wanted to do was buy a few vegetables. Enter Weird Grocery Guy.

The perfect place for an ambush

The perfect place for an ambush

I was standing in the produce section trying to decide between asparagus or zucchini squash when I turned to find him blocking my cart.

“Excuse me! I don’t want to interfere with your shopping, but I simply had the urge to tell you that I think you’re beautiful.”

As far as opening lines for men declaring their affections against a backdrop of Portobello mushrooms and pole beans, it wasn’t a bad start. But the fact that he was blinking like a caution light, sweating profusely, and gesticulating like an Edgar Allan Poe narrator made me take a step back into the red cabbage section.

“Oh, I don’t want to bother you!” Blink, blink. “I have zero expectations about dates!” Jab wildly into the air. “I just think that women like you should be told more often that they’re beautiful.” Blink, blink, blink, mop forehead.

“Oh,” I said, curling my fingers around my buggy handle and scouting the area to my immediate left for an opening. “How. . . nice of you.”

“Oh, don’t mention it.” Arms flailing. “I’m the perfect man for the job!” Blink, blink.

Two thoughts crossed my mind: one, why couldn’t rising unemployment rates put this man out of a job, and two, why didn’t I have the FBI’s number on speed dial? I was just about to arm myself with red potatoes and pelt away, but then he stepped around my buggy to close the gap, and I took off like Secretariat at Belmont. To heck with asparagus or fresh squash. It was feeling more like a double-bolt-your-door-and-have-a-slice-of-frozen-pizza-while-oiling-your-shotgun kind of night by the minute.

I made good time through the candy aisle and finally shook him in the cheap wine section. He must have been a Baptist, since no self-respecting member of that denomination would be caught dead amidst the Chardonnay lest a deacon spy him and set up an intervention plan to pull him back from the evils of alcohol. Sometimes it really does pay to know your local demographics.

I can lose him in here!

I can lose him in here!

I shopped cautiously the rest of that trip, and when I reached an end cap of an aisle, I tentatively peered around the corner before emerging in plain sight. At the end of the soup aisle, I saw WGG with another victim hemmed in by the salad starters. I couldn’t read expressions from that far away, but I could see the broad, sweeping arm motions, looking as if he was trying to land a plane on the Vidalia onions. By the time I reappeared on the other side of the pastas, Victim 2 was wheeling away with enough velocity to lay tire tread on the linoleum. Just another satisfied customer of the Beautiful Compliments industry.

© 2014 – Traci Carver


31 responses »

  1. I’ve only had one encounter like that…on vacation in South Carolina last March. He really liked my blue toenails! Just when you thought it was safe in the veggy aisle! Glad you made a quick get-away! 🙂

  2. Traci, he sounds faintly like the guy who tried to pick you up outside of Cozy Tea a few weeks ago. I don’t remember any brow mopping but some fancy footwork trying to reel you in. You’ll just have to put a Mennonite cap on that pretty head of yours – ha!

    I see a few faces in the comment section that have followed you over from my blog tour. They know they’ve landed in clover!

    • Too funny about the fellow from Cozy Tea! And anyone who follows your blog is a reader who has good taste 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying your trip!

    • I’ve seen it done on several sitcoms as well. I think this is where the disclaimer “don’t try this at home” should come into play :-). Thanks for stopping by, John!

  3. I had a similarly weird online encounter recently. A strange man sent me a FB message telling me how lovely I was and hoping “we could get to know each other better.” At least with a personal FB message I had the chance to check him out. Turns out he’s a professor at a university at the other end of the country (Google confirmed this) and I have no idea how he found my profile. Obviously I couldn’t see any sweating or wild gesticulation but I’m guessing he’s just like your stalker. Obviously I replied thanking him for his kind compliment but declining, then I blocked him. Slightly scary.

    • Yikes. Just one more reason to be careful about what we put on social media. And I guess stalkers occur at every education level. The only thing worse than a crazy stalker is an intelligent, crazy stalker!

  4. Ah poor guy- harmless and clueless. Maybe I need to leave my husband behind to enhance my grocery store experiences 🙂 Great mention of Secretariat- timely what with the recent Belmont Stakes.

  5. I understand the grocery is the “new” place for pickups. No pun intended, but bet he drove a pickup with a gun rack! This online stuff is just not reliable. Love your way with words. Looking forward to a book one of these days with a lot of southerisms.

  6. Thanks for the chuckle! I’m glad you got away. It’s good he wasn’t waiting for you at the checkout line! 🙂
    It’s fortunate you weren’t in NJ. Here we have to go to separate stores for alcohol (Pennsylvania, too).

    My daughter has had WGG encounters, not only at the grocery store, but at the gym, too. Weird Gym Guy–you know, the guy who with a selection of empty treadmills or elliptical machines, picks the one right next to her, and then begins to behave like your WGG.

  7. Well, praise the Lord you weren’t shopping in the DRY county! Whew! Saved by wine! There’s a story for a certain someone. LOL

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