Peeking Inside

Learning how to operate a soul figures to take time ~ Timothy Leary
The other day, I went to Publix and presented a coupon to Henry, the cashier, for $5 off of a purchase greater than $50. He held onto it for a moment, traced along the edges with his thumb, looked up at me and stated, "This says a lot about you, lady."

I was entranced with his lilting Jamaican accent, and responded, almost apologetically, "I know. I cut it too perfectly, Henry. Weird, right?"

"This says everything about you, ma'am. Most people rip out their coupons all crazy, but not you. No, not you. You took the time to cut around the edges, just like so..." he said.

"Well, it certainly doesn't mean I'm neat or clean," I chortled. "You should see my house!"

Henry paused and went on to tell me he was an investigator for over ten years and had to leave his position for personal reasons, but that he had learned a lot during that time about people's behavior. And that I should think long and hard about why I chose to trim the edges of that damn $5 coupon so attentively. He told me I'd most likely be surprised by what I found out, if I looked long and hard...

Shit. Best I could come up with under the guise of "Detective Benson does Publix" was that I am so desperately lacking these days in anything verging on perfect order that I perhaps use my Fiskars to theoretically trim off the edges of any and all noise and annoyances from my hectic life. Because, I am so not anal. I mean, if anyone checked out the five junk drawers in our kitchen, alone... The unpacked suitcase from our Disney trip three weeks ago... Oh God, the science project that is the floor of my car.

Or does cutting out a coupon with the precision of a surgeon mean something so very much greater than the aspect of analosity...

Hm. Lots of introspection these days. My mind tends to annoy itself.

I've been thinking about a question posed by a couple of sales guys I used to work with a lifetime ago: "Would you want to hang out with yourself? Would you, actually, like you?"

Hell, I'd want to chill with Me, to be perfectly honest. I think I'd have a kickass time with Me. I mean, I doubt I'd offer Me my ATM card for safekeeping, nor would I trust Me to keep my Quicken Books in any sort of order. And I'd think twice about asking Me for recommendations on hot upcoming fashion trends... I would never accept dancing lessons from Me. There would definitely be no good forthcoming advice from Me on how to enter a social gathering with grace. Nor how to exit with grace, for sure. Career conversations would be interesting with Me. And we'd no doubt have hours-long arguments about politics and religion over Coronas and a big fat grilled steak. But Me and me? We'd have a blast and get along tremendously. I am sure of it. I'd give Me the most silly hug, hoping she'd one-up me with an even bigger and more embarassing embrace...

Talking about hugs, I was dropping the kids off at school the other day and met up with a mom I know and gave her a hug when I saw her. I walked away thinking (with Me) about how silly I am... Maybe huggers are seen as being weird. Dammitt, I'm weird. What does it mean when a perfectly executed coupon cutting mom with five junk drawers and a penchant for ska dancing to the Fresh Beats hugs a random cute mom and proceeds to walk back to her car and wax nostalgic about the times I didn't worry about the fallout for such things. ? I am, quite honestly, never secure about how I act.

But I oftentimes fall back on a memorable compliment I once received, and it somehow saves me. I had met up with an ex-boyfriend at a certain oyster bar in Grand Central, several lifetimes ago... We had both moved on and were happily simply reconnecting, and I asked him if he was dating anyone. He responded, "Yes. She's wonderful and just like you... unaffected."

Now, though I fashion myself to be a wordsmith, of sorts, I am perhaps the furthest thing from it. Because, not only was I thrown six years ago by never having heard of the word rigamarole, nineteen years ago, I didn't know how to process the term unaffected. I thought it meant I didn't care. I gave my ex a big fat hug goodbye (forever) while thinking the whole time he figured I was ambivalent about life. I now know differently.

I've come to appreciate the people who look into themselves and care about what they see. The good, the bad, the in-between, and the real. I dig those that can laugh about their shortcomings, cry about their insecurities, and clink their glasses to the hopes and possibilities of tomorrow. My favorite people are hilarious, kind, sometimes inappropriate, and always introspective. To quote my son, "Sometimes I'm naughty, but I'm always good."


There's more than one answer to these questions

Pointing me in a crooked line.
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.
~ Indigo Girls, "Closer to Fine"


Jennifer said…
I heart you.

Just so ya know. :)

Angela said…
Two thoughts on the recent posting. First coupon mania. There are so many views of the topic. Perhaps the perfectly cut straight edges are respectful of the tiny slots and bundling required by the shop of choice. Perhaps you take money matters seriously and carefully consider the use and cutting of coupons. Perhaps it was simply a good day to cut along the lines? I think it is nothing short of amazing to hear this encounter. one more reason never to judge too quickly ... my next gym check in attendant is probably a world famous westler.

HUGS? Never question a HUG. Happiness Under Guise is how people should consider a HUG. If more ofus used the simple art of touch more often, there would be far more sharing, caring and laughing in place of huffing, puffing and elbowing the old lady out of the way.

Great post. Thank you.
Heidi said…
beautiful post, jenn! i could relate!

i think i know the henry you are speaking of...he makes me smile whenever i am lucky enough to happen into his aisle!


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