You are the company you keep. But I’m not.

Why do I always find myself in conversations, and worse, agreeing, with crazy people?

At the grocery store the other day, an unkempt-looking woman sidled up next to me in the produce section. (Keep in mind this is coming from an unkempt woman herself, er, myself, as I was traipsing around in my teething-baby-drool-splotch-covered yoga pants and matching jacket, my Mom Uniform. Hey, at least I was matching – the drool was distributed evenly throughout my top and bottoms. Plus, my ripped-crotch jeans were in the wash. I now realize it’s no wonder the disheveled woman felt drawn to me and am surprised more vagrants aren’t on a regular basis.)

Anyway, the bedraggled broad yanked five knobby fingers attached to a calloused hand out of a tattered pocket and pointed one of them at the bushel of cauliflower heads with a scowl of disgust crawling across her mug.

UGHHHH. WHY don’t they sell a SMALLER CAULIFLOWER?!, she asked me, exasperated.

And before I could even blink, before any synapses could hop around and do their job under my skull, I fired off a passionate I KNOW! back at her.

I know? Really? I KNOW? I know NOTHING of desirable cauliflower size.

But to her, I knew.

Like I was PISSED about this gargantuan cauliflower situation and had clearly been thinking the same thing she had. Like, every time I go to the store, I stride right up to the cauliflower bin, take out my measuring tape and slam it on the ground when the vegetable’s circumference hasn’t gotten any smaller from the week before, shouting at the tops of my lungs, Damn you, Danny Wegman! Listen to your customers’ needs!

Interesting side fact: Cauliflowers are also the size of a fetus at 27 weeks according to most fetal growth tracking websites. That’s creepy and gross. I don’t want to think of the beautiful life growing inside me as a cruciferous vegetable. One I like to smother in artery-clogging, artificial-everything Velveeta in order to get it down my gullet. When I was pregnant with Kellan, he was a melon for several weeks at a time. Not sure if the baby tracking website ran out of fruits or what, but I definitely was emailed of his reaching melon status more weeks than one. A little disconcerting, yes, but I also assumed he had a big Irish noggin which could account for at least one of the melon weeks alone. And I assumed correctly – that noggin was 90th percentile at birth. Ouch.

So yeah, as for my sympathetic auto-response, my auto-empathy, I’m not sure what that’s all about. I guess I’m THAT non-confrontational. I don’t dare reply with, “Hmm, I rather LIKE the size of these cauliflowers, actually. They’re just perfect for my *insert little-known cauliflower recipe*” or “What the hell are you talking about, you crazy she-devil” or “I honestly hadn’t noticed the large cauliflower epidemic.”

Instead, I agree, cut my losses and jet over to the next aisle as fast as I can away from the kook. And that’s if there even are any losses to be cut – most times, there aren’t. In this case, there weren’t, except that I walked away with heavy introspection gears turning, like, did I really just co-complain about the size of cauliflower, a vegetable I’ve never even bought, in fact?

But hey. You know what? Maybe I made her day. Maybe I made her feel a little less coo coo for cocoa caulis. She might’ve thought, Yeah! I knew I wasn’t alone in my hunt for the perfect cauliflower! The girl in the snazzy yoga suit gets me! So in that regard, I’m glad I subscribed to her nuthousedness. It’s not a bad thing to be nice, right?

If you’re anything like me, your response will be Right.

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One Response to You are the company you keep. But I’m not.

  1. Jamie says:

    I ALWAYS find myself in these situations! And I can’t just walk away. Nooooo, that would just make too much sense. On my last trip to Tops (and probably my final) I befriended a homeless person, who told me his entire life story (complete with a drinking problem and many rehab stints). Though he was pretty scary looking (and smelly : / ) I found he was pretty harmless and just looking for some human interaction. It did feel good to be nice and treat him like a human being. Even crazies are human : )

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