Once, for a brief moment in time I had been transported to another dimension or visited by a time traveler. It was a normal day at my retail job, in a store that had low customer volume and sometimes there would only be two shoppers in the entire store.
The front of the building consisted of windows, floor to ceiling, so I could see customers pull up and categorize them before they even entered the building. It was a pet industry chain. Normally there were the customers who knew exactly what they needed and came in, only wallet in hand, on a mission to exit as soon as possible. Then there were the indecisive shoppers who unshopped all their products before leaving. There were also the researchers, the ones who had read the “internets” and decided to ask me questions that they already knew the answer to from their superior “researchez.” Other times, there were college students, freshly rich off of their financial aid and ready to frivolously blow their money on a pet they would probably return in a week or let outside to fare its chances because they didn’t think about the future expenses of a pet, and its poo-poo habits. Once in a very special, rare time, someone different would arrive, and this happened to me unexpectedly as I stared out the window from my register, wishing I was free from the chains of my monotonous cashiering activities.
A 1968 Caddy pulls up and out comes Mary Tyler Moore’s doppelganger. She was exceptionally tall and thin. She had on brown high waist bell bottoms and an elaborate print top complete with a neck tie. My first thought was, “My gawd, this car is all original and spotless.” My Second thought was, “This woman looks 80+, but her style is as if her clothes are fresh off the rack of a chic 1968 boutique, and her hair is perfect!” She entered the store and went back towards the dog food section. I couldn’t even guess what type of dog she had, which I had reached expert status at doing while being employed there. I wanted so badly to get off the register and go talk with her, but I was pleased that I was the only cashier so she had to go through me, ultimately. She looked as though she came directly from 1968 to 2010 in a 10 minute drive…somehow as she was driving to the pet store, she went through a wormhole and arrived in a different time, but was totally unaware of environmental differences or her own aged features.
Finally, she came through my line. She picked up a 40lb bag of dog food like it was nothing and began to ask me a series of questions about some products we sold. One of the questions that stuck out was, “Do you have this brand of canned food in stock?” Me: “Yes ma’am, would you like me to grab a case from the shelf?” Her: “Oh no, I just wanted to know, If you didn’t I was going to have to kill you-“
“Going to have to kill me….” I thought? Then she kind of chuckled, and I honestly could not tell if she was joking or serious. I rang up the rest of her transaction without conversation until it was finished. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to speak, I was speechless in this moment and questioning if I was in another time and place. I asked if she needed help out, hoping she would take me up on the offer so I could see her car. She answered, “Well that will be just fine ‘cause if you don’t, I might just have to kill you!” She laughed again, and with that, we set out to her chartreuse Cadillac with an exceptionally large trunk. In fact, it had enough space to fit at least three cashier’s bodies that she may have killed along the way. The interior was all original leather, scratch and stain free. The dash was polished and there was not a loose item on the seats or in the floor. The car definitely had to just come off the assembly line. I loaded the bag of food into the trunk, which did have a blanket over some items in a lump shape. I engaged in some small chit-chat and wished her well and told her I hoped to see her again. As she drove off, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a body in the trunk, perhaps her husband or a cashier from another time. The rest of my shift I had this overwhelming feeling that I cannot describe. I felt tingly all over and I knew I was part of some divine moment. I never saw her again, but I will never forget her.
She had German Shepherds.