So I was at the grocery store yesterday – just picking up a few things for dinner. It was nearly that time already but I had other things on my mind all day and suddenly I thought “Shit! What am I going to make for dinner?! It’s blisteringly hot outside so I’m not cooking inside. Bar-B-Que it is!”
And everything went really well, almost right to the end. Because as I was waiting for the scale to verify the weight of my bags I looked up and…..time stopped for a moment.
Is that Stanley’s* new wife? Can I even call her the ‘new’ wife because it’s been a while since he married her. I consider myself the ‘old’ wife so I suppose that would make her ‘new’ wife.
That kind of makes us sound like cars, doesn’t it? I’m the old trade-in and she’s the shiny new one that smells awesome inside. EWW…!! That didn’t come out right. Not that she doesn’t smell good inside…..but how would I even know that? Geez! Let’s just pretend I never said that, okay?
So……I look up from the scale and I see her, but I’m not 100% certain it’s her….I’m in more like the 85 percentile of positivity. It looks like her but it’s been a while since I’ve seen her so maybe I’m wrong. This store is a little out of her neighborhood and while I don’t mind her shopping at my grocery store, I would like to know if it is, indeed, Mildred* or not, because shopping like a Meerkat is going to get weird.
Let’s put that aside for now though, because there are bigger issues here than whether she is Mildred or she isn’t. Namely, did she see me? We didn’t quite make eye contact before I dropped my head and stared at the screen in front of me. I diligently started scanning my items while my mind kicked into overdrive.
How am I supposed to behave? What’s the protocol? Do I wave? Should I do the Floppy Wave and keep it loose and friendly? A rigid, proper wave – my fingers straight and squeezed together, and make Wash On, Wash Off movements? Maybe a Queenly Wave – my hand cupped, palm towards me with kind of scooping motions? Or maybe she didn’t see me at all and the guy at the cashier behind her will think I’m hitting on him and I’ll have a situation in the parking lot?
Maybe I should just take a deep breath and plunge into the morass of awkward Divorc-i-ness. I’m not harboring any bad feelings but I have no idea what the other side feels. Maybe there is an incommunicado policy in place that I’m not aware of. Did Stanley tell her that I wanted to give him away at their Wedding? I thought it was a brilliant idea – the old wife officially giving him to the new wife. That would have started things off on the right foot, in my opinion, but Stanley threatened death and dismemberment.
Even if I do decide to take the plunge, what do I say for an opening salvo? Do I holler across 6 cashiers and say…..what?
“How’s that husband working out for you?”
Or “Hey Mildred!! Lookin’ good!”
Or should I be more formal “Felicitations Mildred!”
By the time I finished paying for my stuff, I had decided to just screw up my courage and make an oblique approach and maybe accidentally bump into her cart. I could pretend that I just saw her at this moment and not 5 minutes ago when I ducked down like a 3rd Grader.
There was a tiny whoosh of relief when I couldn’t see her. And then I wondered if she was doing the same thing that I was doing because she had no damned idea how to behave in these circumstances either. Maybe she hissed at her cashier to hurry the fuck up, then ran out of the store like the hounds of hell were at her heels. Maybe she even squealed tires trying to get out of the parking lot before I made my way out of the store. Probably not because she’s an adult, but I still wonder if she felt awkward too?
I’m going to blame this entirely on Stanley. First, because I haven’t done that for years and second, because he should have let me give him away at his damned Wedding. This wouldn’t even be an issue if we had started this off on the right foot to begin with.
In the meantime, I need a plan in case we bump into each other again. I need a suave and elegant opener and then hope to hell I did my hair that morning.
*I’ve changed his name to protect his identity and privacy. Because I’m just that kind of person.
*I’ve changed her name to protect her identity and privacy. Because I’m just that kind of person. What?! I like the name Mildred and it goes quite nicely with Stanley. Mildred and Stanley – see? It rolls right off the tongue.