Monday, May 18, 2009
Random Encounters at the Old Navy
He was meandering around the men's underwear when he began to eavesdrop on their conversation: "Part of me really thinks I need one of these shirts to wear to the Walk events this year. They're pretty cool!" He mentioned he liked the Superman one, and asked exactly what she was referring to. "I work for a non-profit and our theme this year is 'Be a Hero, Find a Cure' and these would mesh perfectly!" "Oh, that's cool. Go with Superman."
She shrugged off the encounter, and continued with her friend towards the "main event." Lynsey had gotten a 25% off coupon from a co-worker, and they fully intended to splurge on swimwear that evening. There were numerous styles, colors, and cuts, some of which only porn stars could wear, but she found a cute black and white ruffled, gingham duo, which she fancied, and noted that they didn't have her size. She walked up to the nearest store attendant and asked if they had any more in back. He went to look and she wandered further over into the women's section, when she saw the gentleman with whom she had previously conversed that evening. He came up to her and asked if he could ask her a strange question. Always up for answering those, she said "yes," tainted with a hint of intrigue. "My friend just got a phone call from a talk show, telling him that he had a secret admirer. If it was you, would you go?"
Puzzled by the query (and why he would ask her), she asked, instinctively, "What talk show?" He didn't know, but she said she would likely go, out of sheer morbid curiosity. He seemed satisfied with that response and confidently asked her name. "Stacey. Yours?" "Jeff."
After chit-chatting and small talking for a few moments longer, he got her number, asked her if she would like to go for coffee ("I don't drink coffee," she replied), then, for ice cream, took his cue to leave, and he was gone. Stacey and Lynsey continued about their shopping, puzzled about the whole encounter, when the first text message arrived (not ten minutes after he left). "Hi it's Jeff from Old Navy. Would you like to go get ice cream sometime?" How's that for striking while the iron's hot?? "Sure. When?" she replied. "Monday works for me." She pushed him to Thursday, thinking she could maybe think of some way to bail on him before then. He agreed to Thursday at 7:30, and the texting stopped.
At the conclusion of the evening, Stacey commented to Lynsey that she needed to ice her knees on Sunday. She would stop at the Smiths on the way home and grab some (along with a load of other crap she thought up while making a list). She was almost done, but just needed some salad for her dinner alone on Sunday. She turned the corner to the produce section where she spotted him again. She accused him of stalking her, and he said the same to her. He noted that two "meet-cutes" in one night was a sign and that they needed to bump their ice cream date up from Thursday at 7:30 to right now. She had eggs and frozen peas that needed to be kept cold, so she used that as her argument to wait. He offered to allow her to go home, properly refrigerate, and go from there. She explained how to get to her house, and he offered to drive her there, drop her groceries off, and take her back to her car once the outing was done. She reluctantly agreed, thinking that now she wouldn't have to worry about Thursday.
They arrived at the Iceberg a short 15 minutes before closing time. They sat in the car, enjoying their shakes and listening to music (a shared passion, they discovered). He mentioned that he used to rap (yes, like 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem, alike) and offered to rap for her if she would sing along to one of the songs. He introduced her to what he called "intelligent rap" (tells a story and includes strings), and mocked her love for the Mayer. She never did sing along (silently knowing that she doesn't hide her dislike for things well), so he offered an alternative to singing along. She could kiss him on the cheek. Disliking both of her options, she hoped he would forget by the time they pulled up next to her car in the Smiths parking lot. He gave her one more chance to sing along, which she denied. He turned his face towards hers, indicating for her to kiss his cheek. She looked him square in the eye and said "If you turn your head, so help me, I will slap you." "Well, then," he replied, "you'd better just go."
She thanked him for the shake, hopped in her car, and drove home. "Here's to a random encounter," she thought, "and not having to wonder what might have been."