Changes…in Routine.

The moment you've all been waiting for…

Yes, this is me NOT starting that "Changes" series like I said I would. Wow, the first day, and already I can't keep up with it.

But maybe what happened to me today ties in with the Changes series more than I think it does. I mean, I had to change my after-work routine today, and that change caused a domino effect in how my afternoon went.

Fasten your seat belts…it's story time. And this story has a few different chapters…

Chapter 1: Road Rage in Reverse

So, most of the time after work, I go to the gym, and then head straight home. Well, I needed to stop by Walmart to pick up some things for dinner and for later in the week, so I went out of my way to do so.

I figured I'd stop at the gas station right in front of Walmart to see if they were selling this drink called Celsius. As I was walking across the parking lot, this blue SUV completely full of people whips in and passes me, and as I'm about to walk right behind it, it starts backing up towards me. My initial thought is that the driver will see me in the rearview mirror and stop. Despite the thought, I start walking a little faster so I can get out of the way.

I don't know if the driver just didn't see me, or what, but he's not slowing down at all. So what do I do? I start running. And the more I run, it seems the faster he's driving in reverse in my direction, as if he was trying to hit me on purpose.

Clearly, I'm sitting here typing this to you, so I escaped unharmed, but I was flustered. The people sitting in the back of the car saw me, and I didn't hear them say a PEEP to the driver about me running away from his driving. After my unsuccessful search for Celsius, I had to walk right by the car and the driver who could have hit me. And I just did what any young person in this day and age does…look down at my phone. No eye contact. Nope.

When I start to pull out of the gas station parking lot, I realize that I'm right behind that blue SUV, and see from their license plate that they're from New York.

I'm just going to leave it at that.

Chapter 2: Conversations with a Cook

So, my game-plan is this: get in Walmart, grab the stuff I need, get out. I don't want to have to spend more time in there than I need to.

I head to the produce area, pick up a few peaches, and am sort of day-dreaming/aimlessly looking to see what kind of vegetables I want to cook for the next couple of weeks, when this voice asks, "Can I help you find something?"

Now, normally when you hear that question, you can safely assume it's a Walmart employee wondering if you're lost and need some help. My assumption was wrong; I look up to see this heavy-set, gray-bearded man with glasses, possibly in his late 30's or early 40's, wearing a canvas bucket hat and yellow vest. I told him I didn't need any help, hoping my shock that he wasn't a Walmart employee wasn't obvious, and instead of saying, "Okay," and walking away like most people would do, this man goes on to tell me about how a Walmart employee helped him find the vegetables he needed for this chicken noodle soup recipe he was making.

And from there, he continued to tell me about several other different recipes he'd made for friends and neighbors, asked me if I'd ever tried to cook certain things, and suggested some recipes I should try for myself and even for the children I look after. This went on for maybe a good fifteen to twenty minutes.

While I was trying to be kind and receptive to what he was saying (the recipes he was sharing did sound good), in the back of my mind, I was really wanting to end the conversation and get out of Walmart. But I mean, this poor man even told me he didn't get out much, and when he did get out, he loved to just talk to people, and I felt sort of obligated to provide him with some good social interaction before he decided to retreat away from people.

I will say, I wasn't as frustrated with this situation as I probably would have been months ago. Sure, I wasn't expecting to have a full-blown twenty minute conversation about cooking with this dude. But there was just something about a stranger wanting to have a conversation with me that made me think about how these days, we don't want to talk to strangers or even have prolonged contact with them unless they are attractive to us in certain ways – appearance, status, significance, etc. We prefer to keep to ourselves, and to focus on our own agenda.

And that's not a bad thing, but when was the last time we sacrificed our time to just listen to a stranger and get to know them a little? As I was listening to this dude, I thought about how cooking was an art to him; he didn't just go by recipes, in fact, he told me that most of the time he was experimental with his cooking, and it fascinated me how he could be so passionate about food, just like I'm so passionate about my words, writing, and speaking.

I was face-to-face with an artist; not the traditional kind by any means. And it was pretty cool.

Chapter 3: "Can I Ask You a Question?"

After saying goodbye to this culinary artist, I rush up and down the aisles to grab the rest of what I need in the grocery section so I can make my final stop in the hygiene department for my contact solution (whoo-hoo, contacts! I'm living the dream, friends. I love them. Seriously.).

I reach the eye care area, and squat down to compare prices for solution, when I hear this voice behind me ask…

"Can I ask you a question?"

Without even looking up, I reply, "Sure, what's up?" And I look to see who it is, and it's this dude with dreadlocks that were tied up in like two ponytails (think of Arnold from Hey Arnold!'s hair, and that's pretty much what it looked like) with his headphones in his ears. Immediately, I recognized him; while I was talking to the cooking dude, I'd seen this guy sort of lurking in the background. I didn't think much of him until I remembered seeing him again in the background of a different aisle I'd gone to with the cooking dude, and even again in a different aisle I'd walked down for something else.

I didn't think much of it until I saw him right there before me, face-to-face, and I already knew what he wanted.

"Do you got a boyfriend?"

It took everything within me to stop a sigh from escaping my lips. I didn't even make eye contact with him when I replied…I just continued looking through all those boxes of bottles of contact solution.

"No."

I should've lied and said that I did have a boyfriend, because I already knew what was coming next…

"Oh, so, can I have your number?"

Me, being the awkward person I am, told him that I wasn't looking for anything like that, and he was like, "Oh so…you just chillin?"

"Yeah, I'm just chillin!"

He proceeded to say that he just thougtht I was pretty and, "ya know, maybe we could just hang out, and I could get your number. You know, as friends." And I proceeded to be awkward and still tell him "no."

He was a good sport about it though; laughed it off and walked away. And I finally made it out of Walmart an hour later, a little stressed that I'd had to deal with a couple of conversations I wasn't really expecting.

But hey, it's content, and I praise God for providing some interesting moments in my life to share with y'all!

I gotta go fold my laundry and sleep LOL.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

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