Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at the back of my local CVS pharmacy waiting an hour for a prescription to be called in and filled. I passed the time slouched in my chair, alternating between half-napping and people watching.
A man approached the pharmacy counter. He was in his mid-40s, tall and thin and dressed in a baggy, long-sleeved henley-style shirt, navy blue track pants with a white stripe down the side of each leg, white socks and slip-on sandals. His hair was cut extremely short around the sides, but was slightly longer on the crown and coiffed so that it flipped up into a little point at the front. Sort of like the European cartoon character, Tintin. Behind this point was perched a pair of sunglasses. He sashayed around the store, carrying a small plastic CVS basket in the crook of his right arm.
Shortly after I had acquired my prescriptions and was making my way down the main aisle to the front doors, the weirdness began. Ahead of me was Tintin, and behind me stood a fairly stout man who appeared to be in his late-20s to mid-30s. He was wearing a dark blue t-shirt, oversized shorts, socks and running shoes, and he was very clearly itching for a confrontation. He reminded me of Popeye’s arch nemesis, Bluto.
“You look like an idiot!” said Bluto to Tintin loudly.
“You’re the one who looks like an idiot staring at me and following me around!” Tintin yelled back as he headed to the front counter to pay for his non-pharmacy items.
At this point, I was astounded by such juvenile behavior from two grown men, especially Bluto, since he appeared to be the instigator, although I had no way of knowing for certain. At any rate, I walked over to where Tintin was paying for his items at the front counter.
“What’s wrong with that guy?” I said to him quietly. “He’s an idiot.”
Why did I do this? I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for the Underdog. It looked like Bluto was being a bully, and I can’t stand bullies. I wanted to let Tintin know that I was on his side because nobody else in the store was sticking up for him.
I expected a polite, “I know! He’s nuts!,” or “Thank you.” Instead, to my utter shock and horror, Tintin turned towards Bluto who was standing about twenty feet away, pointed at me and yelled, “Hey! She just told me she thinks you’re an idiot!”
Woah! Um… Wow! I was not expecting that! I backed away and towards the door as Bluto and Tintin continued their Festival of Insults. But darn it! I was still irritated at Bluto! As I was backing towards the automatic doors of the store, I said, “What are you, twelve! Grow up!” And then I walked out. Because I knew that if I stayed, that would just be throwing gasoline on the fire, and I didn’t need that. I’d made my point. Time to bail.
Half way to my car, I glanced behind me to see if the fight had spilled out of the saloon doors into the town square. I was determined not to run to my car, but I was fully prepared to walk faster. Suddenly, Tintin shot out the front doors, running as fast as he could, pumping his arms back and forth and looking behind him to make sure he wasn’t being pursued by Bluto.
I hurried to my car, got inside, immediately locked the doors and turned around to see if I could catch a glimpse of Bluto in pursuit. I was relieved – and yes, a little disappointed, too – to see that he was not.