Like any true Winnipegger, I love a deal. So, when Safeway advertised a 3 day special on their large bricks of cheese last weekend, I headed over to get one.
Now, these aren't just any bricks - they are all random weight but are all marked at the same price. A savvy shopper will rummage through the whole lot to find the heaviest one for an even better deal. "Supposedly" these are all approx 700-720 grams but many are under that weight. If you are lucky, you will sometimes find ones that are even more - hence the best deal!
I gathered most of the items on my grocery list then headed for the cheese. As I walked up, a blond woman in a red jacket was crouched down, sorting through the aged cheddar. I said: "I assume you are also looking for the largest piece?" She said she was and wished me luck as she walked away.
I set my basket down, laid my white cane across the top of it, pulled out my pocket magnifier and started looking through my preference of medium cheddar. The woman returned a minute or so later and said there was also a display case at the end of the aisle with more of the bricks and she had found a larger one there. I thanked her and continued looking.
As I'd find a heavy package, I'd tentatively set it in my basket then continue the search for a larger one. When I did find larger, I'd switch out the lighter one from my basket.
Now, given my limited vision, it can take me a few minutes to sort through even a couple dozen bricks or so. I'd just found a rather large one - 828g! (WOOT WOOT!) - when a male voice to my left said "excuse me..."
I looked up and realized he was holding a brick of cheese. He said a woman had suggested he could probably find a larger piece than he had. I moved my basket so he could also look and said that there were definitely heavier ones if you looked and what was the point of buying any package without getting the heaviest - especially on sale? He agreed.
Since I was about to return the second largest piece I'd found to the dairy case, I offered it to him. He asked if I was sure I didn't want it. I assured him that no, I'd found one slightly larger so he was welcome to it if he wanted it. He said thanks. I also told him about the additional display case if he wanted to check it out as well.
As I began to restack all the pieces I'd moved in my search, I assumed that he would just keep shopping - but he didn't.
He asked about my vision. I explained that with my monocular, I could see a route number a couple bus lengths away or enough to know when the light across the street was green and it was safe enough to cross. With my pocket magnifier, I could read prices on most shelf labels and I also had reading glasses for other things. I added that I had no depth perception or peripheral vision.
Being asked about my vision isn't that uncommon and I always try to reply in terms that people can relate to.
What surprised me ... no, make that shocked me, about this exchange was what he said next.
I don't recall the exact phrasing, but it was along the lines of: "So with your limited vision and a face like mine, you'd be the perfect woman for me."
Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am rarely at a loss for words, but I was momentarily speechless.
WHOA! Did he just say that? Was he trying to be funny or was he actually flirting with me?
I couldn't be sure.
Even though he was only standing a few feet from me, I couldn't see his face well enough to tell any real characteristics. To the best of my sight and recollection he was white, clean shaven, dark hair and wore no glasses. He wore a dark jacket - either charcoal or black - and dark pants. He was average height and build from what I could tell. I have no idea how old he was, but sensed that he may have been younger than me.
Let me be frank here. Guys do NOT flirt with me! Most barely give me the time of day let alone engage in conversation or make a flirtatious remark. I'm no beauty by any stretch, yet here was this guy... being polite and friendly...
Was he nuts or sincere?
Though it was only a few seconds, my brain - unfortunately - slipped into self protective mode before I could fully process all of this. With a polite chuckle, I said "Oh, I don't know about that!" I think he smiled, then said thanks for the cheese, wished me a good day and walked past me towards the end of the aisle.
Oh crap, why did I say that!?!? Why didn't I say something like, "Well, maybe we should at least get to know each other before you make a final decision?"
I wanted to call out after him, but I couldn't speak. I didn't want to make the guy uncomfortable if he was self conscious about his appearance or embarrass both of us if it had all been a joke...
So, I watched him walk away.
I'd like to believe he was flirting, but I don't know who he was, his name or anything more about him. I have no idea whether we'd have hit it off or not.
I may never know if it was a joke or if he was sincere.
Where's the time machine when you really need it? I want a do over!
Taking a chance isn't always easy - especially if we don't consider our outer packaging to be that attractive. I've lived it and been hurt by rejection. It isn't fun but sometimes, there are people who are sincere - who really do want to get to know who is on the inside of the so called flawed packaging. They are the true souls worth having in our lives. We have to learn to give those souls room to find us and carefully let them into our world and allow ourselves to be a part of theirs.
I don't know if you will ever read this but, if you were the guy who spoke to me in the cheese section of the Osborne Village Safeway on Friday, April, 19 at about 9:30AM - I'm sorry I wasn't more open. Our conversation was brief - maybe a couple of minutes, but I was intrigued. I sincerely hope that our paths cross again. Since you have the advantage of sight, I hope you'll say hello.