Friday, September 23, 2011

Grocery Store Encounter

"We sometimes encounter people,
even perfect strangers,
who begin to interest us at first sight,
somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken."
Fydor Dostoevsky

A few weeks ago I made mention of the fact that I preach the stranger danger rule to most anyone who will listen. Don't talk to strangers I tell my daughter when she tells me she's setting out for some new adventure. Don't talk to strangers I tell my sister, or my son, or my Sweetie. There are boogie men out there and I want the ones I love to be aware of them. Ever since I wrote that post, I've become aware that as my Sweetie says, I really don't know a stranger. I seem to feel it's okay to talk to old people and babies and little kids who have been warned not to talk to strangers so we're both breaking the rules. I guess if you smile at someone in the grocery store and they smile back then there's a good chance they aren't serial killers. Although, if I was a serial killer I'd probably smile at everyone so not to draw attention to myself.

Okay, I admit it. I do talk to strangers. The people I find I can't talk to are the ones I've known for years and years, but when we're standing over a table of pastries at fellowship hour after church, I swear I can't think of a word to say. And Lord spare me from cocktail parties where chit chat is required with people you know are no more interested in you than you are in them. I'm okay with smiles and hellos, not so good at chit chat.

So there I am minding my own business in the grocery store this afternoon and I spy a woman in line with this strikingly beautiful head wrap. It was a bright rosy pink and stood about 6 inches off her head. I was mesmerized. Not just at her scarf and the way it covered her head, but at her overall stature. She could easily have been an African Queen. Her beauty was in stark contrast to the boys I see in the neighborhood whose trousers hang below their boxers which hang below their butt crack. Ah, but I digress.

I was in line checking out when the woman piled her bags in the cart getting ready to leave the store. I wanted to ask her about her scarf but thought it might be a tad disconcerting if I ran after her in the parking lot. She might have thought I was a serial killer! As luck would have it we exited the store at the same time. My moment had come.

"Your head piece is so beautiful, " I tell her.
She started laughing and told me it was just 3 yards of cotton fabric no big deal. Apparently others had commented about how beautiful she was. She might have been thinking me? Beautiful? I'm not dressed up or anything. I've just wrapped a piece cloth around my head so I didn't have to comb my hair. As she spoke, she reached up, pulled one end of cloth loose and untwirled it. Then, with me watching and her going slow enough for me to catch on, she wrapped and tied, wrapped and tied, wrapped and tucked. Voila, just like that, the scarf was back on her head. No mirror, no pins, not problem.

I stood mesmerized, struck dumb. At that moment I wanted to be so carefree with myself and my beauty to share it with a stranger. She told me how if she want to get dressed up for something special at church, she might wrap it a different way, but every way is just a twist (pun intended) on the same theme. I told her again how beautiful she was, and she blessed me and we went our separate ways.

I managed to drive home wrapping and rewrapping my head, in my mind so I wouldn't forget. Once in the door, I headed straight for my drawer and grabbed the pashini I bought in Charleston last spring. The one I thought I got a really good deal on when I paid $20 that are now selling at Walgreens for $1.00. Well, the Chinese version of the Indian scarf are selling for a dollar. I must say the lady made it look a lot easier that it was. Maybe I didn't have enough cloth. Maybe I have a skinnier head. Maybe I'm just not the African Queen-type. When I first walked out of the bedroom, all wrapped up, Sweeite laughed and Johnson said I should be at the gas station selling cigars. Not exactly the look I was going for.

What do you think?

Except that I don't look pale and thin and sickly I think I more closely resemble a woman who lost her hair from chemotherapy than African royalty. It does not take away, however, the joy I felt from being in the presence of one.

Today I'm grateful for rules that can be broken with no harsh consequences. I'm grateful for being able to spy beauty in the unlikliest of places. And I'm grateful that this self-portrait did not show the mess on the desk behind me.

Wishing for you all kinds of beauty,
Merry ME

"As I look through every moment of our history, we as Black women have worn hats. We have marched in them, we "sat-in" them and we worship in them. ALthough hats change in shape and size over the years, one thing remains the same: Our love for them." ~Harriet Rosebud


MamaJoe said...

I thought you look rather lovely! You twists look professional and thourghly experienced. Great job.

Sorrow said...

You look wonderful!
Loretta of arabia!
I have strangers talk to me all the time...
So Now instead of being all aggravated, I guess i will just think,
"hmm, I don't look like a serial killer"

Cinderella said...

I so strongly realted to your first 5 paragrpaphs Merry - I can talk to starngers so much more easily than people I 'know' superficially!

Here's to celebrating your beauty as a person, woman and friend - in headscarf and without:)

Fire Byrd said...

If I'd seriously thought about serial killers I'd never have met trousers and then all the other fellow bloggers over the years. And my life would be the poorer for it.
BTW totally know about not having anything to say in the chit chat line with people you know. I'm absolutely useless at it

QnDani said...

Ohhhhhh.....I want to learn how to twist and tie and tuck a scarf around my head like that!! Could you do a tutorial? (wink)

I think you look beautiful and regal!!


AkasaWolfSong said...

Lady in know that old song? I started humming it the moment I saw the picture! :)

You Look Divine Dahling! And I'm with Queen show us in tutorial how to do the wrap!

Strangers have never bothered me at all...although I've taught my children and grandchildren Stranger Danger. I worked in the Public all of my working life so it just come naturally to me, but now that I don't work any longer? I find myself sometimes holding back but I think your posting this may just have precipated a long needed change!

Thanks Lady in Red! You really are too lovely! :)


P.S. oh my gosh, my verification word is rednets, lololololololol
okay...wrapping it up here!