But what caused me to take a second look at the guy was what was in his cart. He had two giant, red bottles that on closer inspection turned out to be Old Spice Fiji shampoo and conditioner. And flanking those pump bottles were Old Spice Fiji body wash and Old Spice Fiji antiperspirant. The Old Spice website says "it smells like vacation with the scent of coconut and tropical wood.” Of course I didn’t know that standing in line but with all that Old Spice in his cart I had to find out if I could detect the scent of the Old Spice after shave that my dad wore for years. I got in front of my cart to unload my stuff on the conveyor belt and took a deep breath. I can’t honestly say that breathing in Mr. Tall, Dark and Nerdy made me think of my dad or a vacation in Fiji but the 30 year old inside me would have jumped his bones if he showed the slightest interest in me and my Aveeno scented body.
Instead, I couldn’t help asking him if he had important date that night, motioning to all the grooming products in his cart. He must have had 4 or 5 body washes and an equal number of antiperspirants mixed in with razor blades, Q-tips---even some lip gloss. No food. Thankfully he laughed and didn’t look at me like I was an old cougar trying to hunt where I didn’t belong. “I have a date tonight but not an important one,” he replied. “That didn’t come out right,” he quickly added. “I like to stock up when I shop.” Nice guy, respectful of his elders but the sad part is when I was his age I wouldn't have been bold enough to talk to him.
Before going to the store I was struggling to find a topic to write about and the choices ran the gamut from the loss of a good friend I’ve known since 1970 to a day trip to my favorite tourist town to feeling like a college student at the beginning of a new semester with all the new events planned here on my Continuum Care Campus. One event in particular has me excited: a Murder Mystery Dinner at “Lord Heathchiff's Manor.” I’ve never been to a mystery/murder party so I’m excited about this one. We’ll get our character profiles two weeks earlier so I’ll probably tap my readers for some costume ideas and character idiosyncrasies I can incorporate into my persona. Scratch that. I just googled ‘murder at heathcliff manor’ and came up with the list of 20 characters in the game along with a description of what they should wear. I hope I don’t get the part of the Vicar. It could get me in trouble if I act all pious or let my contempt for organized religion show. Our Activities Director said some of us women will have to play a male part since men are not all that plentiful around here. The day this event was posted it filled up and we have a waiting list. That hasn't happen before.
It’s been a busy week in part because I decided I needed to be more intimately connected around here in a social group in addition to Mahjong. So I’m learning to play Quiddler with the Thursday night group. For someone like me, who is spelling challenged, it’s a bit scary but my mahjong mentor is part of the Quiddler group and I showed her my hand from time to time and asked, “Is this a word?” Her daughter is dyslexic and she has a way of laughing at me that makes me feel loved and understood all rolled into one large ball of acceptance. She puts everyone at easy when she laughs at and corrects a faux pas' I made when I talk “left handed” as I call it. The older I get the more I’m making mistakes like words out of order or the opposite of what I meant to say. The first night I played Quiddler I scored next to the bottom of the twelve of us playing. Last night I scored next to the top.
I really don’t know if my attempt to network deeper into the social structure here will make me happier or whatever my goal is exactly. I just know a lot my neighbors have made some really good friends and I haven't. This was brought home to me when two of my mahjong buddies were talking about a Rhodes Scholar road trip they are taking with two others here on campus. Occasionally three of the four of them have asked me to dine with them. We even went to see the new Barbie movie together. But they all got close because they do the line dancing class together and that group of 12 do parties together and impromptu to outings for ice cream or coffee and even do off campus dance performances for our marketing department. I can’t say I’m jealous. Not exactly. But their road trip pointed out the fact that while I have friends here I don’t have any close friends. With my long-time friend dying this week and my other long-time one battling Alzheimer's I suddenly feel lonely.
While I was at the grocery store/big box store I got my second Pneumonia vaccine, my 2023 flu shot and the new RSV vaccine for respiratory virus’ and I signed up to get a text when the new Covid shots are available. You can predict with a high level of accuracy who around here is getting the Covid vaccine and new the RSV shots by what political party they support. The Trumpests aren’t getting them because “Covid is just like a common cold” and they say they don’t trust the new RSV vaccine because it is new. One of the guys in my Writing Group just got out of a two week quarantine with Covid and I don’t intend to go to Covid jail. Not that I couldn’t entertain myself that long and survive by getting food delivered to my door. The pharmacist who gave me the three vaccines said they might make me tired and I slept like the dead that night, only waking up once which is a record for me. Otherwise I didn’t even get sore at the injection sites.
Until next Wednesday…
Rest in Peace, Vicki.