Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hey, Stranger!

I talk to strangers.

It doesn’t matter where I am, I’ll just strike up a conversation with the person standing next to me. Sometimes it’s general “can-you-believe-how-slowly-this-line-is-moving” camaraderie, and other times it’s to talk about the oppressive heat or make jokes about Angelina's adopting all of Hollywood.

One time I was grocery shopping with my roommate and we were stuck with a price check. I struck up a conversation with the woman behind us and I thought my roommate was going to die of embarrassment.

“Do you have to talk to everyone?” she asked me.

Um, yes, I do.

I hate it, however, when strangers talk to me.

A few weeks ago I was in the produce department at the grocery store inspecting avocados when an older gentleman one aisle over is smelling garlic. His wife is next to him wearing a kerchief on her head, clutching her handbag that is decorated with duct tape.

Old Garlic Man smiles at me. “Where do you store your garlic?”

Now, for those of you playing along at home, the proper place to store garlic is at room temperature, NOT in the refrigerator. I know this, which is why my answer surprised me so much.

Me: “In the fridge.” (This is the part of the story you should refer to when reminding me that I totally asked for this ridiculous conversation.)

Old Garlic Couple gasps and exchanges a knowing look with each other that says, “I think we’ve found someone else we need to save with our wise garlic-storing advice.”

And try to save me they did, for about 10 minutes. They informed me (in a condescending way, I might add) that garlic should be stored in terra cotta, and it was silly to waste money on a pre-made garlic keeper.

“They can cost almost $10!” thrifty Old Garlic Lady informs me. “Want to know a secret?” She leans in and drops her voice to a whisper, and for a minute I think she’s going to reveal the Black Dahlia killer.
“We just go to a craft store and buy an empty flowerpot and lid for just a few dollars.” Ooh, ingenious!

She also informs me that if I’m really strapped for cash that month, I can just empty out a flower pot that I have at home and just use that.

Before they can comment on how I should test for avocado ripeness I beeline it out of the aisle.

Lesson: Don’t tell anyone you keep your garlic in the fridge. And when a stranger starts talking to you, run away (unless it’s me, of course).

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