With the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson this week, everyone seems to be reminiscing about their incredible memories. I’d like to share one of mine now, though it’s got nothing to do with Man United because I couldn’t care less about it or him.
Many years ago, I was out shopping in a rather upscale store (I don’t want to give them any PR unless they are prepared to reimburse me for my trouble), when I was approached by a woman wearing incredibly large, round, black sunglasses, who asked me for the time. Now you know that I am of the belief that shades were meant to be worn outdoors (hence, the inclusion of the word “sun” in their name), but I was feeling generous so told her it was ten to eleven. She thanked me politely, and I headed over to the lingerie department, where I was known to frequently linger.
After a short time browsing, I glanced up and, through the brassieres, I saw the same woman. In any other circumstance, this would hardly be noticeable. However, this woman — she was staring a hole right through me. I don’t go looking for conflict, but I’m not afraid to meet it head on.
“Have you got some kind of problem?” I asked, moving my pocketbook to my left hand in case I needed to quickly pull the shiv from my garter.
“I was just wondering if I could ask you something,” she replied.
Keeping in mind I had already provided one answer to her (free of charge), I was not eager to continue to engage. However, my intrinsic good nature meant I had to oblige.
“I’m listening,” I said.
She pulled a notebook from her bag and approached me. She flipped through it, coming to a page that had a photograph taped to the top.
“Do you know this man?” she asked.
Now even at that age, I was well aware that that question is always a loaded one, so I took a quick peek and said no.
“Look again,” she insisted, pulling the picture from the page and holding it up to my face.
I took it from her. The man’s face was not what I call classically handsome but he wasn’t as ugly as some I’d slept with. He had a slight red tinge to his face, and I wondered why he was so cross about being photographed. Looking more closely into his eyes, though, I saw sadness, I saw pain. I saw a man whose dreams, despite his hard work and dedication, had yet to manifest.
“Nope, don’t know him.”
“I’ve never been so sure” was my response (though I had been more sure of other things earlier, on numerous occasions, I was obviously going for drama).
She flipped over the page in her notebook and handed me a pen. “Would you be willing to sign here, indicating what you have just told me?”
The page had two columns: Yes and No. There were a number of names under each. I signed under No (I wrote “Miss Trixie Ruffles,” the alias I was using at that admittedly less subtle time).
She handed me a peppermint candy and walked away. I decided to end my shopping trip early. When I returned home, my mother asked me how things went, but I refused to mention this unusual encounter to her.
This morning I had a peppermint, which is what brought this memory to mind.