Monday, September 25, 2006

The Set-Up?

So I'm on my way back to my car, after picking up the Sunday papers at a grocery store, when I notice that someone left a shopping cart right next to my car, near the driver-side door.

Regardless of the circumstances, I'd be irritated by such a thing, but what made this even more maddening was A) the parking lot was virtually empty (easy like Sunday morning), and B) the cart corral was right across the lane from my car. It would've been six steps, tops, to push that scratch-and-dent wagon over with the rest of its shiny, rusty, squeaky brethren.

And I'm muttering each of the more popular curse words, as I push the cart over to the corral. "Stupid m-f'er" this, "lazy c-sucker" that. Actually, I'm getting annoyed with each step away from my car. "How #@$%ing hard is it to do this $#!+?"

Then I turn back around and see a woman standing between my car and the one parked in front of it. She has a smile on her face - kind of a forced one. And she's hovering toward me as I walk back to the car. My first thought was, "Oh, maybe that was her cart, and she left it there as she was getting something in her car." I was going to find out, because she was now walking right to me. Still smiling.

"Hi, how are you this morning?" she says. Yep, I took her cart. She's going to say something. Good. Then I can tell her what I think of leaving a cart that close to my car door.

"Fine," I respond tersely.

"I'm Julie. May I ask your name?"

"Um... Bill."

"Bill, would it be okay if we spoke for a moment about your happiness?" She scrunched her shoulders up to her ears as she asked. I knew she wasn't talking about drugs. It was too bright outside. And again, we were in a grocery store parking lot.

"Excuse me?" This also meant I wasn't going to be yelling at anyone. I hate it when that happens.

Then she pulls out a pamphlet with a brightly colored, tree-filled landscape on the cover. Two people are smiling, admiring something off in the distance, as they're apparently about to feast on pumpkins. At the top, it says, "All Suffering SOON TO END!"

Oh no. I knew it. No one is that happy at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

"I'd just like to share this with you, and then maybe you can tell me what you think."

"Right now?" Hey, I had to cover a football game in Detroit later on. And Ian gets crabby if he doesn't get his breakfast. (By the way, I wonder how she would've reacted if I'd told her I had something to share with her, and just wanted to know what she thought?)

"Oh no, no. Just take this, read it, and think about what it says." Still smiling. She then handed the pamphlet to me, and got back into her car where two people were waiting for her. I got into my car, put the newspapers and pamphlets on the passenger seat, and looked up to see her driving away.

She totally set that up, right? Get me to move the cart, and then approach me as I'm coming back to the car. Hook, line, sinker.

I should've just shoved the cart away from my car, enough to give me room so I didn't hit it when I backed out of my parking space. But nooooooo, I had to be considerate toward other people. I had to make sure that cart wouldn't bother anyone else. What a putz.

And did she pass out pamphlets to anyone else in the parking lot? She could have, while I was in the store. Though I wasn't in there very long. Was I the only one? And why did she drive off after talking to me? Didn't she want to talk to anyone else about their happiness?

I'm going to tell this story next time someone asks me why I look surly or says I don't smile enough. Maybe I'll make a pamphlet.