24 May 2009

I don't know what this is except maybe a bad idea gaining momentum

I parked in an adjacent lot from which I could see the front of the store while I mailed some bill payments. It was open.

The last couple of times I stopped by, the friendly owner who introduced herself to me hadn't been in.

Perusing the store's myspace page, a little additional surfing, and some observations made me nearly certain she had a daughter. Dating someone with kids is really off my radar even if I assume she's not married or straight, but I don't know many people here and I liked her vibe.

When I walked through the door, shades still on, the owner was right there. "I know you," she said, pointing a finger at me, "but I don't remember your name."

"Claire."

"Carrie."

"Right." I'd remembered but didn't get the chance to say so.

"So is this just a summer thing?"

I shook my head and said, "No."

"That's right, you were here in the winter. You should really come in more often. Stop by and say, 'hey.' It's not just for horses."

"So they tell me."

She laughed and then resumed looking after her offspring: two daughters, a toddler and a 6? year old. There were other people in the store but she wasn't having that sort of conversation with any of them. I think the main appeal for her is that we're probably about the same age, not a lot of us in this area.

I wanted to say that I'd been by since we last saw each other the day after Thanksgiving, but she hadn't been there. I didn't get the chance though as she went off to deal with an employee and then change a diaper.

When Carrie and her littlest daughter emerged from the bathroom, I was looking at the case of Carrie's handmade jewelry. The toddler was upset and screaming; Carrie was talking to her to calm her down and I almost didn't realize she was talking to me when she said, "Anything strike your fancy?"

I sort of laughed under my breath not because of her question but from witnessing the craziness that is trying to reason with a toddler.

"Claire's laughing at me," Carrie said to her daughter.

"No," I tried to assure her but she was already around the counter and checking on her other daughter.

"Are you guys ready to go home?" she asked them. They were.

I didn't want to leave without saying goodbye, but she was caught up in explaining how to close up shop to a presumably new employee.

"Ew, she's spitting on me," Carrie said of the toddler she was holding on her hip.

"Oh, I felt that," her employee said.

Apparently the toddler was sucking on a plastic portable fan and then hitting the button to make it spin spraying her spit everywhere. Carrie put her down.

I stepped out onto the porch and looked at some bags displayed there, killing time waiting for Carrie to leave.

The toddler said something unintelligible to me, so I said, "OK?" in response. Her sister watched me with a wary eye, so I moved further down the porch.

As the toddler approached the front step, her sister yelled, "Mom! I need you."

"OK," Carrie replied from just inside the door.

"Right now," the older daughter insisted, following her sister.

Carrie stepped out to the porch, and her daughter continued, "Parker's in the parking lot."

"OK, hold her hand. You can go ahead and put her in the car."

"I don't know how to do that."

Carrie looked at me and said, "I'm a terrible mother."

"No, you're not," I said. Carrie went to put her daughters in her SUV with the big magnetic peace symbol on the hood.

I started walking to the end of the porch in the direction of my car.

"You're not leaving, are you?" she said to me.

"Yeah, I need to get a paper before I forget."

"Stay. Shop! Buy things. We're the best store in ___."

"I know."

"Say, 'The best in ___.' Loud," Carrie commanded.

I glanced at the smattering of tourists walking nearby and took a breath to psych myself up while Carrie watched me. "The best in ____!"

Carrie grinned broadly and said, "Thanks."

"You're welcome." As she resumed buckling in her offspring, I walked off to get a paper.

I'm not sure what to make of our interactions. There seems to be interest coming from her, but of what sort I couldn't say for certain. What I do know is that cute, friendly extroverts make me tongue-tied. What the hell, man? I'm 35.

Being more social and outgoing are aspirations I've been leaning towards of late. With that in mind, I'm tempted to drop by again this week. If she's not there, I could leave a note in which I'd either sound more articulate or like an even bigger spaz than I am.

Going to the parade tomorrow would be a good excuse to be in town, but whether they'd be open or not would be up for grabs.

Thoughts on what I should say/write? Or how to be less tongue-tied with extroverts in general? I swear it's like my brain shifted to its slowest gear. Sigh.

5 comments :

  1. The best way to melt a mom's heart is to make friends with the kids.

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  2. Sounds about right. Hmm. Not a kid person, so I shall tread gently. See if I can feel it out without any heart-melting.

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  3. If you stop by enough and chat enough, she'll catch on.

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  4. so, if your level of kid distaste is really high, i'd be inclined to say don't bother, because per voix's comment, single moms and their kids are pretty much a package deal.

    but if you're just neutral on the kid issue, then really, what do you have to lose by chatting her up more often? it's not like you have no way of avoiding that shop where you kind of look at earrings that you don't really want to buy anyway but just look at so that you can meet the cute shopkeeper, right?

    and she's totally handed you a line to use for future encounters, with the whole "best store in ___" bit.

    "oh hey claire! nice to see you again!"

    "good to see you, too. of course, i had to come back - i hear this is the best store in town!"

    [wink, smile, done]

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  5. Cheryl: That I'm easy to read, I have no doubt. That's not exactly what I was going for.

    Jenny: If nothing else, I could use a buddy here, so I doubt I'll just drop it.

    It's the chitchat that causes me trouble. I had one of those realizations recently, stemming from the experience with my friend Splice that I wrote about in the Grace section of this post. Namely, that I had no game back then, and more relevantly, I still don't.

    However... I also came around to the idea of acting like I'm confident and at ease in the hopes I might appear to be more so.

    I like your line, but I'd probably go with something more like, "I stopped by to say, 'hey,' I hear it's not just for horses anymore." That would work as a note if she's not there. Hmmm. ;)

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