Bizarre Encounter #1: Saturday at Trader Joe’s. An employee was mopping the floor by the refrigerator cases and I had to stand still and wait until she was finished. I looked around. Another woman was getting something out of the case just a couple of feet away, and her little girl sat in the child seat of her shopping cart. The child was a toddler and she had a pacifier in her mouth and she had that dispassionate look about her that two-year-olds have sometimes, when it seems like their world is in a completely different pattern of orbit from ours. It didn’t seem like she’d ever be old enough to talk. I didn’t notice what she had in her hand. But about two seconds after I smiled at her she dropped it. Deliberately. It was a plastic case of blueberries and they scattered as smoothly as ball bearings.
Her mother turned back. “Oh,” she said, as if she’d just missed seeing a traffic light change back to Go. I just wanted to get the hell out of there.