As you may recall from yesterday, Val encountered another surly weirdo while line-waiting. She can't seem to catch a break from being berated by total (or in this case known) strangers. But you know ol' Even Steven. He's not one to let Val's weirdo life become unbalanced. Within the hour, he had begun righting the Bad Ship WeirdoTalk, in an effort to get Val's line-waiting life on even keel again.
I was over in Bill-Paying Town, waiting in line at Walmart. Again, I was second in line. There were actually three people ahead of me, but they were all together. It was an elderly lady sitting on a beeper cart, a young man putting the bags back in her basket, and a young lady roaming back and forth to the hot food display in the main aisle, bringing two cups of popcorn chicken to the register.
Once again, I was in no hurry. I grabbed the rubber divider thingy and put my stuff on the conveyor. The checker was a congenial sort, and held up a can of some product that might have been hair mousse. It was in a pinky-purple can with a little pointy top. "Well, I guess you're over 21, because we can't sell these to anybody under 21!"
"What? Why's that? It's just for my hair."
The young man helping her caught on. He looked kind of like Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. About the same size, maybe 10 pounds heavier and a couple years older, with the same bleached out long hair. He was wearing a blue and yellow tied-died t-shirt and cargo shorts on this 75-degree November day.
"Oh! I know...because it's like those...um...like whippets! Like that stuff in the can! Um...REDDI-WIP!"
"That's not alcohol! Or a drug. Why can't they have it?" asked Grandma.
"They breathe it! The air in it that shoots it out! Nitrous!"
The checker nodded. "Uh huh. We can't sell it to them."
"I've done a lot of drugs in my time, but I've never done THAT, heh, heh. I know what it is, though."
I wasn't paying much attention. Just staying out of the way so that girl could go back for another popcorn chicken. I got the impression that this lady was a grandma getting help from her grandson and his girlfriend. Then I was jarred back into the present time by Dude speaking too me.
"Isn't that right?"
"I'm sorry. I wasn't listening."
"I told her, 'I think you're supposed to ring up that cheesecake on her bill, and then hand it to me!"
"Heh, heh! I don't think that's how it works."
"Didn't you hear? This is Buy a Hippie a Cheesecake Day!"
"I'd be more likely to buy you some Reddi-Wip!"
We both had a good laugh. I actually contemplated giving him that cheesecake! He was helping the old lady, and he was friendly, with a sense of humor, and wasn't begging, and not pretending to be anything but what he was. A hippie.
Let the record show that all that stopped me from bestowing that cheesecake upon him was the fact that I would have to put my stuff in T-Hoe and come back in to walk across the store and buy another one. We'd had cheesecake for Thanksgiving, and I'd given Genius some and Friend some and we'd all eaten some, and now it was the next week, and Hick and I were wanting more cheesecake.
Good thing I got a picture before it's all gone!