“Hi!” came the blaring voice behind me at the supermarket. I turned, expecting to see a familiar face, but instead stared vacantly at a blonde with orange skin and blinding pink lipstick. She was rapidly approaching, a big smile on her face. My inability to recognize her sent me swiftly into a panic.
“Uh,” I said, gripping my box of granola bars, “Hey…you.”
Suddenly the smile left her face. She stared at me as if I were a slime-drenched creature that had just slinked out of a sewer. “Um, I wasn’t talking to you,” she said in annoyance. She grabbed a box of saltine crackers and turned, her blonde hair whipping behind her, giving me a glimpse of a tiny Bluetooth headset tucked behind her ear.
As she trotted away, her stiletto heels making sharp little clicks, I was embarrassed by my mistake—and slightly miffed by her audacious reaction when I thought she was talking to me. This would have been the end of our encounter if it hadn’t been for one key element: Blondie was one of those bullhorn cell phone talkers whose voice was ten times the normal speaking decibel.
I watched as her blonde ponytail bobbed down the aisle next to me, her voice still booming. “Yeah, no—some chick in a kid’s shirt thought I was talking to her.” It’s an adult shirt! I wanted to say. You don’t have to be five to appreciate the nuances of Disney! But what she said next caused me to remain where I stood, listening incredulously.
“Herpes sores aren’t scaly, right? Cause his look kind of scaly, so it’s probably just an allergic reaction to something. It better be an allergic reaction.” A pause.
“They only did it once and he said he used a condom.” Another pause.
“No, Angie, unlike some people’s boyfriend’s, mine was upfront with me about it. He felt bad and that’s why he told me—I didn’t have to find someone else’s thong under the bed to figure it out.” Another pause and then an apologetic, “I know, I’m sorry—Mike’s a good guy. He is. What? No. I don’t think I’m better than you just because…okay, okay. Just chill, alright? So what else is going on with you? Ow—that’s weird. My boob itches.”
Clearly I had stumbled upon the most intriguing person in Ralph’s. I couldn’t just walk away from her. And so, like a moth drawn to one hell of a loud flame, I began to follow her.
If she wandered into aisle four, I strolled down aisle three. The top of her head was never more than ten feet away from me—although I could have been standing across the street and not missed a beat. Her conversation was rapid, varied and lacked any pauses for air. In aisle six I found out her views on Coldplay (“they’re, like, the best band ever”), in aisle seven her thoughts on pugadoodles (“I have to get one soon or I’ll die”), and in aisle eight her hopes for her relationship (“he owes me one hell of a big wedding ring after banging that ho”).
I felt a little skip in my chest when she said she liked Juno, a pang of dismay when she said she just didn’t get Quentin Tarantino. By the time her voice drifted toward the checkout line, I felt strangely connected to the girl that had made an entire store her personal walkie-talkie. I quietly stood behind her at the checkout line as she let out an “Oh, my God—no freaking way!” that caused several startled bystanders to jump. The bagboy shot me an “isn’t this chick annoying as hell?” look, and I shot him back an “on the contrary, she's wildly entertaining” expression. Alas, as the blonde grabbed her sack of groceries, practically screaming into her Bluetooth that Brad Pitt should have never dumped Jennifer Aniston, I felt a mild disappointment that our little bond was about to end. But as the girl peeled out of her parking space—and directly into another car—it appeared her bond with a new stranger was just beginning.
Courtney Bee's articles on sex and relationships have appeared in Hustler, Playgirl, and numerous adult books. On ellorascave.com she's the bestselling author of Athima, an erotic novella, and a contributor to the new X-rated anthology Flavors of Ecstasy III. She's also a top-ranked sex columnist on examiner.com, where she betrays her prim Catholic upbringing on a daily basis.