June 30, 2007

Old Man Magnet: curiouser and curiouser

I'm sorry, I'm usually a friendly person who doesn't mind chatting with strangers, but today was just not the day for it. I could just get into it here, but the backstory won't let me. So here we go.

I went up to Best Buy to purchase a printer because my old inkjet printer (which I finally decided to unpack after living in this apt. for about 7 or 8 years) wasn't gonna work. It just wasn't made for a platform later than Windows 95. Sigh. I'm not someone who keeps up with technology, but even *I* have Windows XP.

But I don't have a car or friends with cars or at least any friends with cars I could bug for a ride and anyway I don't really like bugging people for rides when there is perfectly close public transportation. Except I don't mind bugging people if the trek is going to end up with my toting a heavy boxed purchase. Then I like to bug cabbies. At least, for the way home.

Anyhoo. My first mode of transportation was the red line (or subway/el). From the looks of people around me, I surmised there was a Cubs game today. What I did not surmise was the fact that a strange odor would make me get off the train and wait for the next one. I just didn't feel comfortable standing around inhaling a burning oil smell. I didn't know where it was coming from, but I didn't want to roll the dice with my life, so whatever, I got out to wait for the next train. The smell was also evident on the platform, but after a while it dissipated. I felt better after seeing some yellow-vested men, even though for all I know, they were just on break and going to eat sandwiches.

When I got to Best Buy, the printers were all lined up and looking very fancy. None of them seemed to be the right size for my desk, though. Finally some dude came over to assist me and I couldn't help but be swayed by the product he showed me: a Canon iP1800, on sale for $49.99. Sweet. But then he said I'd have to buy a USB cable for $31.00 in order to connect it to my computer. Oh well. I guess you can't complain when you're snagging a new printer for under a hundred bucks.

The box had built-in handles, which helped, but I'm still a relatively small person who is considered a weakling (by my own admission) and who is not fond of carrying heavy things around. I looked around for a cab, but alas, they all had other people in them.

I made my way over to a bus stop a few blocks away and stood there holding my box, shifting it from one hand to the other, trying to keep a hold on my fare card and make sure no one was poking into my backpack, which was slightly open in order to accommodate the size of the USB cable package. I wondered if any of the cars that were passing would take pity on me and offer me a ride. I wondered what I would say if they offered. But this isn't the '60s or even the '70s (and I probably looked scowly anyway) so no one offered.

An old man who'd been leaning on his cane outside of the Old Navy (which was behind me) hobbled over to me. His cane got caught in a crevice which prompted him to say,
"Whoa, I almost fell."

Then he addressed me, "Could I ask you a question?"

My first thought was, "He's not really gonna panhandle me, is he?" followed by "Oh man. I am so not in the mood to chat."

I'd barely finished saying, "It depends," when he followed up with, "There are a lot of people coming this way, aren't there? I mean, does it seem to you like there's a lot of people walking this way?"

I had to admit the question was not one I'd anticipated. It struck me as strange, mostly because I hadn't really thought about how many people there were. And frankly, it didn't seem like that many people were out, but whatever, it's Saturday, so you know.

I replied, "Uh, I guess so."

"Thank you. That's what I thought. A lot of people. Where do you think they're coming from?"

"Um...well, there are a lot of stores that way."

That's pretty much all he wanted to know, so he went back to lean against Old Navy and then finally the bus came.

I was lucky enough to get a seat on the bus, the single kind along the window. I sat down with the box on my lap. After a time, a different old man who was sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked me what was in the box.

I'm sorry, I know I'm carrying a big freaking box around that clearly states what is inside, sort of, but hello, is it too much to ask for some freaking privacy?? I mean while I was waiting for the bus, I saw some dudes turn around to see what I was carrying. Like who cares? Is it their business? Whatever. I don't care what's in other people's boxes, I've learned my Pandora the hard way. And yes I'm ranting about something dumb but when did that ever stop me?

Anyhoo, I said it was a printer. And that it was heavy.

His reply? "Oh, I was just curious."

What is it with old men these days? Or am I just a magnet for this sort of thing? (I'm thinking yes.)


Anonymous Zik Nedip said...

I'm so glad you're posting more. I had to post it again.

8:27 AM  
Blogger H. said...

I'm confused...post what again? Oh! Maybe you meant leave a comment... :D

10:10 AM  

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