The scene: Three days ago, while it was still beautiful and sunny outside. I had shambled over to the tiny convenience store next to my apartment building, smack in the middle of campus. I was out of lettuce. This inevitably leads to me buying some sort of pizzular item. I was not preparing to be anywhere in public that day (since I was still rather sick) and so I wore black flip flops, a blue jersey skirt with elastic pockets and large, off-white polka dots, and a purple sorority t-shirt. My hair stuck up as though I were a rooster. I had the aura of somebody who had recently lost a fight with nature.
I shuffled up and down the aisles (there are only two) of the store, observing the different types of ‘food’. Pringles. Pop-tarts. Energy drinks with names evoking primal beasts and ancient battles. Soup-to-go. Skittles. I settled myself in front of the freezer with boxes of things that most closely resemble actual dinners. The bell jangled and another girl walked in. She was taller than me, with brown hair pulled into a bouncing ponytail. She was wearing a sports bra and tiny pink terrycloth shorts. Her school lanyard dangled around her neck. She wore a sparkling white pair of running shoes.
The girl slouched up and down the aisles. I made room for her to pass me. It seems like convenience store etiquette to browse before you get something, as if it’s bad manners to burst into a 7-11 and point dramatically at the Fritos, announcing, “THOSE. I CAME FOR THOSE.” and exit the building with the bag hoisted proudly in your fist. You gotta pretend that you’re there by accident.
So the girl and I surveyed the store for awhile. She parked in front of a small array of Luna bars and Slimfast shakes. We never spoke to each other. Another one of those silent conversations.
Me: Pizza bread…pizza pasta…ooh! Mozzerella sticks!
Girl: Hmm. Maybe I’ll have to go jogging again to burn off this Luna bar. I wouldn’t mind it. I jog. I’m a jogger.
Me: OH SWEET JESUS, PIZZA ROLLS. MY DECISION IS MADE.
I open the freezer with a rush of cold air. The girl, possibly alerted by the chill on her bare EVERYTHING turns to check me out.
Girl: Do I know you?
Me: Do I know you?
Me: Agreed. Although here, I’ll smile at you anyway! Friendly gesture.
Girl: Yeah. I didn’t come to this store to smile.
Girl: I came out of pure nutritional necessity. Note that the only foods I deign to look at are health foods.
Me: I did notice that. Kind of…ah…kind of makes my pizza rolls harder to buy.
Girl: Oh? Are you intimidated by my chiseled physique? My excellent abs?
Me: They are pretty excellent.
Girl: Yeah. I know. I figured everyone would want to see them. Thus the sports bra.
Me: That’s a reasonable assumption.
I moved down the aisle as the girl selects a SlimFast shake and we ended up next to each other at the refrigerator full of soda, coffee, and energy drinks. The girl folded her arms, and watched me out of the corner of her eye.
Girl: Don’t mind me. Just judging you.
Me: Judge away. Honestly, too sick to care. Hang on, let me sniffle a bit, just to let you know. That way, maybe you’ll understand that my outfit is the result of my fevered delirium. I wouldn’t normally wear this.
Me: No, you’re right, I would totally wear this. But I’m sick, so give me a break. Cough. Cough.
Girl: Whatever. I’m too busy examining the various bottles of water to care.
Me: COUGH. HEY. I’m SICK.
Girl: Aquafina. Iiiinteresting.
Me: Fine. You’re going to judge me and just turn away?
Girl: I wasn’t JUDGING. I was just determining that your outfit was an affront to God. That’s…FACTING. It’s different. Besides, if you were going to get pizza rolls, I had to see how fat you were.
Girl: I had to see how fat you were. If somebody gets really fatty foods, you gotta see whether they can afford them. If a skinny girl gets fattening food, it’s endearing. If a fat girl gets fatty foods, it’s gross.
Girl: I had to see whether you were endearing or gross.
Me: And…and…uh, what did you decide?
Girl: Pfuh. Please.
Me: WHAT. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN.
Me: HEY. HEY. ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT.
Girl: Look, I’m not saying anything. I’m just rolling my eyes and crinkling my eyebrows at the pizza rolls in your hand.
Me: NEWSFLASH. PIZZA ROLLS ARE DELICIOUS.
I stared at her in abject fury for another moment. She withdrew a bottle of water from the refrigerator and faced me. I was now between her and the cash register. She eyed the pizza rolls. She looked me up and down, and looked skyward, praying to God that she would never stoop to my level. Setting my lips in a thin line, I threw open the refrigerator door and grabbed a Sierra Mist.
Me: See this? This is sugar. Pure sugar. I am going to DRINK THIS.
Girl: Ugh. Please don’t. You’re making my abs cry.
Me: I will drink this WHILE EATING MY PIZZA ROLLS, and my fabulous ass will get a little more fabulous, and I will not regret it for a second.
I eyed her for a moment longer, soda clutched in one hand, pizza rolls in the other. Rather than letting her pass, with her sneer and her SlimFast, I turned and marched straight up to the cash register and slammed my purchases down. I made pleasant small talk with the cashier, and turned to go. The girl sighed audibly at me.
Girl: Okaaaay. Have fun bathing in grease.
Me: Thanks. I will.
Girl: Don’t forget to get fat.
Me: Sure thing. Bye now.
I moved to exit the store, and, noticing my hands occupied, bumped the door open with my hip. I threw a smirk over my shoulder at TerryCloth Sportsbra, and left.
Never were pizza rolls so delicious.