Coby, Carl, Construction, and (Oxford) Commas.

See what I did there?

I think the alliteration was also a nice touch.

My office has the great fortune of being virtually right across the street from a Trader Joe’s.  This is ultimately convenient as I often neglect to pack a lunch and am thus able to score some fairly decent grub for under $5.

…like I did today.

Browsing the prepared food section, debating between hummus and a turkey wrap, I eventually decided upon the turkey and headed to checkout.  There’s no “15 Items or Fewer” line, so it usually ends up being a bit of a judgment call.

I picked the one with the friendly-looking older gentleman as he looked the most conversational.

Intuition, in most cases, serves me well.

Carl (or so his name tag read; wasn’t sure if he was pulling a Fight Club on me):  “Well hey there!  How’s your day treating you?”

–  “Not too bad, ” I replied.  “Enjoying the walk outside.  How about you?”

– “Oh, I can’t complain.”  He points to my work badge pinned to my shirt.  “Looks like you have a job too, eh?”

– “Oh yes. ”

– “Work at Microsoft?”

– “No, but I do a lot of work with Microsoft.”

– “Ah, see; I’ve always admired you folks.  I was dumb and got my degree in English.  See how that turned out…”

– “Oh, excuse me good sir,” I said.  “I got my degree in painting of all things.  I think that’s actually one step above and English degree in terms of practicality.”

The look on his face mirrored what I imagine a college guy’s face looks like when the girl he’s sleeping with tells him she missed her period.

– “No, what?!”

– “Yessir.  With a minor in Art History, even.”

– “How long have you been doing your current job?”

– “Ummm…three years, now?  I was in QA before.”

– “And you’ve always been doing this?”

– “Oh heavens no.  Before all this I was a waitress.  And worked in daycare.”

He then proceeds to step out around the register to grab my hand and shake it.

– “You – you have given me so much hope – and I’m 70!  Thank you!  You – please, come back anytime; every day!  And make sure you come to my line!  Oh, this is so exciting; thank you!”

Not used to being a compelling, inspirational force in the lives of others during a lunch run, I humbly thank him and tell him I will definitely visit him again.

– “Wow…” he says.  “What a great day.  You have a fantastic weekend, young lady!”

I smiled and wished him the same.  Except for the “young lady” part, for obvious reasons.

We live in a culture where more often than not, women base their self-esteem on how they look, compliments they receive, men who flirt with them, earning the envy of others; and as a result they find themselves in constant mental competition with each other, based solely on superficiality.  As I’ve gotten older (and subsequently come to accept with the aching joints, crow’s feet, and gray hair) I’ve made it a point to remind to myself that who I am is not how I look.  Who I am is the sum of my experience, my accomplishments, the people and love I have in my life, and what I give back to the world.

It’s good confidence strategy, I feel.

Oh, and then there’s Coby.  Coby is a Puggle.  He was tethered to a signpost outside Trader Joe’s.  He had the sun in his eyes, hence the squinting.  His dad says he’s a spoiled brat.  Given that I set aside 10 minutes of my lunch to play with him, I believe it.






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