So, I’m having an unfamiliar retail moment yesterday. I was in need of some boxing and shipping services and was referred to a UPS Store on the north side of town. Now, I’m sure there’s one closer, but supposedly the proprietor of this one is amazing, according to the person who referred me.
Either that or he gets a kickback for the referral.
But, no worries. I dutifully make the trek into the strip mall under the raised highway. The one that had been described to me as “where a grocery store used to be.” Mmmm. Always a nice neighborhood economic indicator if the grocery store leaves.
The woman I was supposed to ask for was assisting another customer. There were several other customers milling about, doing self-service tasks. And then SHE walked in.
You could tell she was not quite right. A little too perky, the clothes a little yard-sale meets Garanimal meets crack whore.
Since I was being helped by the aging hippie, Larry (The man had a bad hip AND a pony tail—you find a better descriptor) crazy lady went to the owner. But she felt it necessary to have intimate conversations with anyone around her. At this moment, that meant me.
“Can you believe how cold it is outside? Yesterday it was like Summer in Miami and today, it’s like the North!”
I sort of smiled and nodded, hoping to do that “I’m-acknowledging-you-but-I’m-not-engaging-you” thing one does with crazy people.
“I’m a Christian. I’m a Christian. Deep, deep, deep, down . . . I’m a Christian. I really am. I used to say ‘this weather’s wacky.’ But now I say, ‘this weather’s wicked.’”
Good to know, Crack-wina. Now if you cold only tell me what one wears to an Apocalypse. Next!
Fortunately, Larry the Aging Hippie saved me with an extremely time-sensitive question about how many peanuts I would need for packing. I shrugged my excuse to the Wicked Witch of the Weather and turned to Larry to deeply ponder peanuts.
But it was not to be.
“I’m bi-polar,” she said to the ownerclerk. “So I don’t understand everything you’re telling me. I’m bipolar.” It turns out that what she couldn’t understand was that her shipment was going to cost her $15. And apparently, what she meant by bipolar was “broke.” Sister couldn’t make the payment.
She went outside to her crack buddy but he was no use. He’d already drunk the two beers I’d given him (I didn’t know you couldn’t ship full bottles of beer, and since it was the bottle design that was of interest, I gave him the beer inside) and had probably left his wallet in his other pants, which were most likely lying soiled beside an off-ramp in the vicinity.
So, she apologized and asked for her stuff back. But they still wanted her to pay for the box they’d used to stuff her shit into. And that’s when it got interesting. She screamed and yelled and laughed. Threatened and cajoled. Played victim and buddy and aggrieved customer. She even accused the proprietress of giving her friend beer, which apparently caused him to lose all of his money.
She handed the clerk the money, demanded to use the bathroom, because she couldn’t “hold it in no more.” And then she was gone. And all that was left was a her scent. Sort of wet air and cherry limeade and scrambled egg, all mixed together.
As I finished my transaction, the owner apologized profusely. She said she hoped I would come back, and that it wasn’t always like this.
“Too bad,” I sighed.