Hangups and Tiedowns.

(I work part time at a hardware store these days.  Just FYI.)

There are a fair amount of purchases at the hardware store that seem creepy.  Zip ties and plastic sheeting, a hatchet to a soft handed quiet man, a plastic poncho on a day that’s not rainy.  There’s a guy who’s still in my head because he said to me while I was ringing him up, “my boyfriend is coming over, so I had to get bubble wrap.”  With a tone that said, “you know, like you do.”  He seemed to feel it was self explanatory.  If I’d known how it would haunt me, I would have demanded an explanation at the time, manners be damned.

But hell, when my pet rabbit had to be put down, I bought a shovel at noon on a Weds, while crying softly.  So I try not to assume.

Today a woman came in.  50ish, mom-esque.  I asked if there was something I could help her find and she said, “yes dear some rope.”  I motioned for her to follow as I headed down aisle four.

“What kind of rope?”
“Fifty Shades of Grey kind of rope.”
“Ok.”

She might have been kidding, it’s the sort of joke I would make, and hell I figured, good for her if she isn’t kidding.

“Someone is gonna get it on tonight.”  She tapped her chest.

I smiled blandly because I thought responding with anything resembling shock or amusement would be insulting, pointed at the back counter and headed back to my register.

W was helping me bag purchases when she came to my register.  She had A LOT of rope.  Over 100 feet.  And ……….. other things.  Tape.  ……………. a ….. clamp.  To an imaginative girl like me, trying to not react, this was, ironically it’s own form of torture.  You folks know I don’t shock easily but she just kept talking.  I was going all Victorian around the knees.  You don’t know.  You weren’t there.  YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND.  I sucked in a deep breath and said to myself, “this cannot get more awkward.”

That’s when she took a phone call from her ………. intimate friend.  ON SPEAKERPHONE.

ON SPEAKERPHONE YOU GUYS.   And it was clear they only knew each other in the sense that I know the guy I got that Ikea computer desk from.  *coughcraigslistcough*  He had made a list and was checking it twice with her.  And me, unwillingly.

I wish I could describe what I heard.  The least creepy thing I heard was that he wanted her to get cigarettes but he didn’t smoke.  I can’t tell you the rest.  I’m not ok, you guys.  Any shred of girlhood innocence I still clung to is gone.

I am a woman now.

When she left, I grabbed W’s wrist and sat down.  To the next customer I said, “I’m sorry, but I need a minute.”

Tomorrow I’m going to that woman’s house to make sure she’s ok.  I’ll tell her anyone who buys that much rope gets one free check up, company policy.

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2 thoughts on “Hangups and Tiedowns.

  1. Oh, our little girl is a woman now! I was JUST having this conversation about “exactly how far do you have to go down that road at OSH or Home Depot before they stop and ask some uncomfortable questions?” I mean, rope, zip ties, a hatchet, hack saw, lye . . . where do the employees just say “ENOUGH” and call the police, or at least take down your license number? Is there a “PSYCHO” key on the register they can hit to flag your purchase for later review, or submission to the police? On my friskier days, I dream up these lists and think about trying them out, just to see how far I could get. Oh, and I think one would have to wear a hoodie with a hat pulled down low, and look around nervously, but maybe that is just setting up the shot too much, you know? Maybe a little day dress and some serious heels would really sell this performance. . . . I applaud you for worrying about her safety, little one. I suspect she is JUST FINE in a way her former husband never made her feel. Just spitballin’.

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