Friday, October 26, 2007

Close Encounters at Costco

I love Costco. I really do. I think it is the warehouse version of Disney World. I love strolling the aisles, looking at the various items they have for me to buy in multitudes, and I am especially enticed by the edible samples all throughout the store. The boys and often I arrive just before lunchtime, and then we graze our way through the shopping list.

One of my friendlier characteristics (and one that drives my introverted husband crazy) is my desire to talk to nearly anybody. I have been known to have such a fascinating conversation with a fellow airplane passenger that we exchanged email addresses before we deboarded. This little peccadillo of mine extends to nearly everyone I meet, nearly everywhere I go.

Even Costco. I have had some very interesting conversations at Costco. Actually, I've had some strange conversations with fellow Costco-ians.

Get a load of these:

When I was about 11 months pregnant with Tucker, we did one last Costco run to stock up on the many things we would need to carry us through that first month with a newborn. I was great big pregnant. It wasn't our most concise or efficient trip to Costco, due to all my waddling, but we got the job done. As we were checking out, I heard a woman far behind me, literally yelling, "Hey! Hey, you! Hey!"

Surely she's not talking to me. Or rather yelling to me, I thought. But the yelling continued, and I finally turned to see that she was looking right at me. "Hey!" she said, so loudly. "What are you having?! Are you having a girl?!"

"Me?" I looked around, but there was no one else looking as though her water might break at any minute. "Oh, no, I'm having a boy."

She frowned and said loudly, "Oh. I shouldn't have asked."

What on earth? What's that supposed to mean? Weirdo. We checked out, went on our way, and chalked that whole exchange up as one of my stranger moments in pregnancy.


A few months later, after Tucker was born, I took him with me to stock up on all of our bulk items once again. Before we could do our shopping, he needed to eat (sadly for him, he didn't have teeth and couldn't enjoy the delectable samples yet). We settled into a quiet corner of the food court, and I nursed him underneath a blanket. (Let me just say right now that I am a very discreet nursing mother. Except for the sweet little feet sticking out from under the blanket, one might think I was just chilly and preferred to have a blanket over my shoulder.)

At the table beside me, a busy mother of three was feeding her children their lunch of hot dogs and pizza. Her kids were about 5, 3, and less than a year. The three-year-old really had her eye on me, very curious about just what I was doing.

She finally worked up her courage and said, "Is there a baby under there?"

I mentioned that I enjoy a good conversation with just about anyone, but I should add here that my favorite conversations are with three-year-old children. You just never know what you're going to get, and I love it.

I smiled to her and said, "Why yes, there is."

"What's he doing?"

"He's eating his lunch."

"Oh. Cool." She really said that. Cool.

Still very inquisitive and without missing a beat, she said, "Why does he have two heads?"

Two heads?? WHAT?! What could possibly make her ask that? I scrambled around under the blanket, suddenly very concerned about what parts of me might be inadvertantly exposed, causing her to think my child had such a deformity.

While I was still struggling to think of an answer, her mother blushed and said, "He doesn't have two heads, baby. That's her shoulder."

Ohhhhhh! There were two bumps under the blanket: the bump that was Tucker's head was right next to the bump that was my shoulder, thus making her think she had just met her very first two-headed baby.

She nodded, satisfied with this explanation. Finally she said, "Then can he come over to our house today to play?"

Not today, sweet girl. Maybe when he's a bit older, if we ever see you again.


And last but not least, we went to Costco just today, and I had another conversation worth noting.

I had just gone through the checkout lane, and I was in line at the food court, purchasing a diet Coke for the road. (There are few things I enjoy more than a diet Coke for the road.) I had Tyler in the Baby Bjorn, Tucker in the front of the cart, and I was blindly feeling around in the diaper bag to find my wallet. (Never mind that I just used it to pay for my groceries... I am forever blindly groping around in my bag, searching for something.)

The woman behind me was talking to Tucker, and then she turned her attention to me, saying, "Are they two years apart?"

"Almost. 20 months."

"Oh, I've so been there. Mine are 23 months apart." She had a two-year-old in her cart, and she said her older son was in preschool.

Just then, Tucker's sippy cup fell on the floor, and I had to lean over to pick it up, a simple task greatly challenged by the baby attached to my ribs.

As I stood back up, I said, "Oh, so you know how my life is then."

"Yes, I sure do. But you just wait: it gets a lot harder once the little one can walk."

Great. If there's anything a frazzled mom loves to hear, it's that her life is only going to somehow become impossibly harder than it already is, in a matter of months. Very encouraging.

I politely excused myself to the soda machine, glad to be finished with that conversation. I had no desire to hear just how much harder it was going to get, or how. No thanks. This is tricky enough as it is.

My all makes me want to load right back up and head out into the world of shopping in bulk... the experiences are endless.


Nicole said...

THREE CHEERS FOR COSTCO! The free samples and $1.50 pizza combo make the comments worth it! Favorite current sample: corn & cheese chowder soup. Deeeelish!

Alli Dunham said...

Makes you wonder what on earth these people do around people they KNOW...geesh!