468 Words About An Interaction With A Customer

He’s got that lazy mad scientist vibe. His hoodie is dirty, his beard always scraggly and he wears hospital scrub pants, but he’s not in the medical field. He’s the 6th grade science teacher that you thought was weird but then found out later he was high the whole time. Or he’s the college professor that you assume is high all the time, but he’s actually a conservative tight-ass who listens to the Grateful Dead because of their songwriting. I’ve seen him every day for the last 12 years and I still can’t get the right read on him.

When there isn’t anything to do at the store, all I can do to seem busy is to walk laps, occasionally stopping to pretend to be distracted. I must’ve passed by him on my 500th lap or so. Although we don’t speak every day, he was taken aback that I didn’t say hi.

“What am I, invisible?”

“You’re not, but I can understand why you asked me”

“Why’s that?”

“Because how else would you know that you’re invisible?”

“I suppose I could look in the mirror”

“But you might still see yourself”

“You’re right. Mirrors lie. But people would be really spooked if I talked to them and they couldn’t see me”

“But what if everyone keeps it to themselves because they all think they’re losing their minds?”

“Also true. People are too self-aware to be afraid”

“But what I’ve always wondered, if you’re an invisible person entering a room, if there other ways for people to know that you’re there? If you lose one sense, the other senses are heightened. You could sneak into the girls locker room, but your presence might be louder”

“Or I would smell a lot worse”

He changed the subject to a nugget of random nostalgia. His favorite hockey player growing up was Bernie Parent, goalie for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 70s.

He was one of the best goalies of all time and would’ve been the absolute greatest if it wasn’t for a freak accident. During a game against the Rangers, he was stabbed in the eye by a broken stick. The ironic thing is that he was known for being the guy that never took his mask off. Fans didn’t even know what he looked like, that’s how vigilant he was. And yet, trouble still found it’s way through the holes. The Flyers lost that night and nearly got swept out of the playoffs by the same Rangers.

Emotionally, the customer never recovered. That was the moment when he realized that sports were pointless and there’s no use investing so much feeling into it as a fan. to each his own. I had nothing to ask him, except for him to pick a number between 300 and 600. He chose 468.

– TeeCoZee