Saturday, October 16, 2010

A plan that doesn't make sense

Last night at work, probably around midnight, I was taking some metal folding stools out of a box and putting them on a shelf when I heard the unmistakable sound of an electric scooter. From behind me I heard, "Well, whatcha got there?" I turned around to see a tiny old man who was easily in his late 170s. He had a big smile on his face like he just ran into an old friend. "Just some folding stools," I replied. He let out an astonished "huh!" and then said, "I don't believe I've ever seen one of those before."

"Shit," I thought. This was going to be one of those conversations. Basically no conversation after midnight with a stranger in Wal-Mart is a normal one, and I figured this would be no different.

"Yep, just a stool that folds," I said, when I really wanted to say, "really? A stool? Never seen one of those before?" "Well, how does that work?" he asked. I unfolded it for him and he let out a loud laugh like I'd just done some amazing magic trick. That's when I realized that he wasn't some dumb old guy who hadn't quite grasped the concept of a stool. He was just lonely. He wasn't buying anything nor did he have any interested in a $10 stool. He just wanted to talk to people. And wanted people to talk to him. I felt bad, but I didn't really know what to do.

"Getting pretty cold out, huh?" I said to him. He smiled and then we had a ten-minute conversation about the weather until he noticed a couple walking by pushing a bike, which seemed like a good conversation starter for him. I finished my work and left them to their conversation.

This is the dumb thing about life and why I believe in nothing. This isn't the kind of life this guy is supposed to lead. This can't be the way he's supposed to finish out his existence. If this is all part of some master plan, it's not a very well thought out one. I just hope I don't get to the point where I have to pretend I've never heard of a stool just to have some sort of personal contact. Just to feel like I'm still a person.

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