We met in the peanut aisle at the grocery store. I had noticed her and her husband slowly following me. Whenever I glanced back to make sure I wasn’t in their way, she would give a very friendly smile. It’s an odd thing to see a smile like that at the grocery store. Usually when eye contact is made there, I get the tight closed-lip smile that means, “Please move your cart, I’m trying to get to the bread and butter pickles.” And that is quite fine. I don’t mind that smile; I’ve been known to throw one myself from time to time.
Behind me, the couple were laughing about something and I could only assume someone had put a sign on my back. I stopped in front of a row of cashews, not needing cashews, but hoping they would pass. The husband did. His wife stood behind her cart and laughed again when I picked up a bag of trail mix.
“That’s what we were just talking about!”
I glanced back, startled. Who talks like this at the grocery store! Does she not know about the smile?
She ran up and grabbed the same brand of trail mix. “My husband. He’s so stupid. He was just saying we could make our own trail mix cheaper than if we just bought the bag. He just went to check on the price of raisins.”
While she spoke, I had a second to size this girl up. She was quite pretty, and wore a new-age hippy-chick blue dress. She talked with her hands and seemed super excited over the trail mix topic. I liked her the instant she called her husband stupid.
“Well look at the price of nuts alone!” I replied, “There’s no way! No way!”
“I know!” she quipped back. I felt like we were instant friends, “I told him that and he said, ‘I won’t put nuts in it.”
“Not put nuts in it! Just raisins and M & M’s? You might as well buy a box of Raisinets for 89 cents!”
She laughed and was pushing her cart past mine. “Ha! That’s right! I’ll tell him that!” and she got closer to the end of the aisle.
A tiny bit of panic set in. I liked this girl! I bet we could be friends. We would go to coffee houses and joke about our husbands and share stories of our misspent youth. She’d get me into Tai Chi and I’d get her into scrapbooking. Eventually we’d introduce our men, who by appearances alone would NEVER have been friends, but for some crazy reason would really hit it off. They’d fall in love with our kids and when they finally had one of their own, they’d ask us to be the god-parents. We’d go on camping trips and vacations to Disney World together. It sounded so perfect! It would be so fun!
But it was never going to happen. She turned right to go find her husband and I turned left to find a box of cereal. Even if I had kept the conversation going, I still would had never figured out how to get to the Friend Zone…without seeming creepy, that is.
“You’re funny. Let’s be friends. Wanna go to Disney World?”
How is it my 5-year-old son has it all figured in the friend department, but me, a quite delightful (if I do say so myself) 29-ish funny and creative woman does not? My son can walk up to a group of boys, pull out a toy truck and say, “Hey dudes. Wanna play?” Within the hour, he’s begging me to let his new bestest buddy ever, Alejandro, come over for a camp-out in the backyard. Meanwhile, I’ve been sitting next to Alejandro’s mother for the past 45 minutes and have only said, “Is anyone sitting there?” Pathetic.
Oh, but I’m not lonely or friendless. That’s the odd thing about this whole exchange. I have friends. Wonderful friends! Probably the best set of people anyone has ever met! I just…never have time to call them, let alone plan trips to Disney World with them. And I’ll be honest, part of me felt really guilty over the hippy-chick. Like, I was cheating on those amazing friends. I’m a friend slut!
Still, as I was checking out my groceries I glanced around looking for my possible friend and her husband. Maybe she would point me out, “That’s the girl who made the Raisinets joke!” and he would laugh and wave. Then they’d invite me over for trail mix. We’d joke about how friendships were like trail mix; they’re just better with nuts! But I never saw them again.
Later that evening I decided that hippy-chick was my Jacob Marley. She was there to send me three ghost. NO! She was there to keep me from making some horrible mistakes in my life. She helped remind me that I already have the greatest friends in my life and I should really make an effort to see and talk to them more. I don’t need more friends I just need better relationships with the ones I have. We’re all so busy now with our houses and kids and jobs and pets and blogs. And we’ll stay busy with those things. But we really need to connect more often, and make those connections count for something. Because even though I have lots of friends…sometimes I’m still lonely.
Or maybe I’ve just drunk too much wine today. Crap! Where are my children!?!?
Thanks for reading!