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The Woman Who Starts A Conversation With You At The Store

Updated on July 31, 2007

Honestly, I Just Wanted To Buy Some Cat Food - Don't Get Me Started!

As I stopped at one of the larger pet retailers on my way home from work yesterday I was met by that person we all have encountered on planes, trains and while shopping...the dreaded, "Let me talk to you like we've known one another for years" total stranger. You know the ones I'm talking about, they take the smallest thing and supposedly "strike up" a conversation with you when in reality all they're really doing is talking at you, not with you and frankly it's as annoying as hell. Honestly, I just wanted to buy some cat food - Don't Get Me Started!

As I turned the aisle to get the cat food (I'm a power shopper at all times. I know exactly where things are and how much I'm going to get so I can get in and get out - you know, just like sex in a public place...okay, well, maybe not exactly like it, not that I would know really, I would have to defer to George Michael on this one.) I turned the corner into the aisle and there she was...she was about mid-sixties and was wearing a lipstick color about seven shades too dark for her. It made her look like some sort of odd makeup counter woman from the 1980's or as if she just dropped out of a Nagel painting (and had aged...quite a bit). Her cart was in the middle of the aisle and she had walked to the far end of the aisle, looking at a can of cat food that I immediately recognized as a brand other than the one I buy my cats. As I started to take the cans I wanted off the shelf (on sale and two of each variety as it makes it easier and faster at the checkout if you have all your "like cans" together in the handheld basket) I hear, "Did you get one of these in the mail?" I look over at the voice (that could only be coming from the only other person in the aisle with me) I look at the can in her hand and do a half-smile with no eye contact and say, "Yes, I did." Now for normal people this would end the conversation but oh no, not with the dark lipped talky Tallulah. As I continue getting cans off the shelf she starts the monologue. "Well, I got it in the mail too and now it's all my cat will eat. Can you imagine? <she chuckles to herself as I'm wondering what could possibly be funny in what she said> Yes, that's all my cat will eat. Did your cat eat it?" I respond with the response that I know will end the conversation, "No, my cat hated it." Finished, right? Wrong. "Well, I have a cat that will only eat dry food but now my other cat is spoiled and will only eat this brand of moist food and it's 99 cents a can so I only give it to the cat as a treat and my husband thinks I'm crazy <her husband is not alone> because he says that I should put whatever kind down and they'll eat it when they get hungry enough. I suppose that might be true but I think that I'll get an extra can because my cat will really enjoy it. What kind of food do you have there?" "Fancy Feast" I reply with no inflection in my voice as to encourage her to continue this conversation on any level. I have finally finished getting all the food I need and as I am almost out the aisle I hear, "How many cats do you have?" As I leave the aisle I look back and say, "Two. Have a nice day." As my mother always says, "They'll forgive you anything if you have a strong finish" and as I've spent my entire life trying to get people to like me, I have to leave her with a polite parting.

I know that some people would say that this woman was lonely or that she was just trying to connect with another human and I get all that but please don't try to connect with me over the cat food. (Cocktails maybe but not cat food) I don't live in Mayberry where everyone knows everyone else for a reason. Maybe if we were even buying the same kind of cat food or if she had said, "Can I ask your opinion?" it would have been different but that whole starter question and the monologue she delivered just put me off. I'm not saying she's a horrible person or unworthy of conversation with me or anything like that I'm just saying that she chose the wrong person at the wrong time to start a conversation with on this day. I was rushing home after work, needed to get the cat food and wanted to get home. I get that it was probably on me, that I was not fit for human consumption this day but come on people, pick up the context clues, will ya?

I think it's more about the weirdness of these cat or dog people, a group that I could tell this woman was a part of, you know, the ones who call them their children, give them the front seat in the car and talk about them non stop. I do have two cats that I adore but I do not consider myself someone who has to spend their entire life talking with strangers as well as people I know about my cats' activities and how cute they are to me. I get it that it's like children, you can talk about them with your mate until you're blue in the face but if you go on and on with anyone else, they're bound to be bored in the face. I don't want pot holders with cats on them, I don't want a "Beware of the cat" sign at my front door and I sure as hell don't want any porcelain statues of cats from the Franklin Mint. I love my cats but I don't expect you to love them like I do or want to talk about them. So in retrospect I was probably not as nice as I should have been to this woman and being Jewish I'll have guilt over it for at least a day but here's the deal. Just know that not everyone wants to talk to everyone else in the world and sometimes a little space can go a long way. Honestly, I just wanted to buy some cat food - Don't Get Me Started!

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    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 9 years ago from Las Vegas

      And you have obviously never heard of a dictionary but good for you for speaking out...although misspelled and barely coherent...whatever makes you happy.

    • profile image

      HUMPING MUSHING 9 years ago

      SO YOU BIN CHASING ME AROUND ...................................................................... THEN YOUR A LOOSER

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 10 years ago

      Great advice, Scott. I'll start rehearsing and will invite you to my opening up. You're the best!

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 10 years ago from Las Vegas

      Guru-C, Okay, here's where it really pays to be Jewish and gay. You see you never know when someone is going to hate you for just being you so you develop cat like reflexes where comebacks are second nature. For Jews it's more about living in the &quot;worse case scenario&quot; world. &quot;Okay, if this happens, then I would say...&quot; We go through every possible scenario through our minds and rehearse like we're going on Broadway. For us gays, it's all about running or hitting below the belt, &quot;And your shoes don't even match anything you have on!&quot; So get yourself into &quot;the zone&quot; and you'll be tongue-tied no more. Good luck!

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 10 years ago

      Dear Scott: I tend to always be tongue tied at the worst possible times (Like at my husband's immigration interview when I needed to tell the Federal Agent, "He's the love of my life. Please approve his application right away."). I wish I could have a little of that talkative DNA cloned and bottled. But yes, those Chatty Cathys drive me crazy, too.