In the past I have mentioned Becca from The Dauntless Muse and her boyfriend, Bob. In their early 20's, they're some of the nicest kids you could meet. They're interesting and well read and hard working and--despite the age difference--I consider them friends.
A cherished interlude during my work day is when I get to take out the garbage. The garbage dock (or whatever it's called) is located back behind the produce department--where it's quiet! During that daily chore, I get to hang out for a few precious moments in the sanctity of the box baler and produce pallets where nobody asks anything of me. Not only that, but I frequently see Bob there because he works in produce.
Bob and I usually stop to visit for a second and sometimes he gives me produce samples. Woo hoo! I know how unmonumental that sounds, but really? A break from my astoundingly busy department and a few slices of apple is a restorative getaway : )
Shortly before Christmas, Bob had a birthday. I hadn't seen him in quite awhile, so one day while I was at the store shopping, I stopped by to say hello to Bob and acknowledge his special day.
I didn't see him out on the produce floor, so I approached one of the other produce employees with whom I am familiar. Well, I'm familiar to him when I'm in work clothes, but evidently not when I'm in street clothes.
"Is Bob working today?" I asked.
He looked at me warily. "Do you know him?"
No, I don't know him, I'm just randomly asking about handsome young men who work here . . . "I'm Kristin from Pharmacy . . . " I replied, hoping to jog his memory.
"Oh. Yeah, I think he's in the back," he said as he started to lead me to the double doors.
Dressed in my normal clothes with Produce Dude leading me back especially to find Bob, I began to feel a little funny about how this looked. I felt even more awkward when, stepping beyond the doors, Bob was standing with a group of 4 or 5 other produce workers.
Bob greeted me warmly. I wished him a happy birthday and gave him a hug (because he's a huggy kind of guy and I though I am normally a little, let's see, repulsed by human contact, I thought it would be bad form to come see him for a personal reason and step back in fear as he approached me.)
As all this was going on, the other 4 or 5 produce workers kept shooting funny looks my way. Like I was a 40ish broad especially seeking out a 20something kid . . .
This was not a comfortable situation. I wanted desperately to get out of there. Bob was really sweet, as usual. We chatted for a few moments and then I said something lame about needing to finish my shopping and get home.
Cheerfully, Bob answered (and I would swear before a judge that this is verbatim) "Have a nice Christmas, and thanks for stalking by!"
And the rest of the produce workers snickered.
Seriously. No respect . . .