So sometime last year I wrote a quick post about a woman that was looking for a specific wine glass. She was a housekeeper and had broken one of her employers Riedel glasses and came in to replace it. The problem was she had no idea which line and even worse, which style of glass it was that she had demolished while trying to clean. We went round and round and then she popped on the phone to try and get more information from her boss. I heard her over in the glassware area talking and started to get nervous when she started with the, “Okay. Okay. Hold on” and started walking up to me.
So I have a little, “thing” about talking on a stranger’s cell phone. Just kind of grosses me out, the oily skin residue, the makeup, the dried stranger spittle and hours of breath…ewe. I try to avoid it as much as possible, doing the talk-you-through-it dance trying to keep the phone owner in between me and that spittle coated, face oil contraption, and this almost always works….well either it works or they can sense the “Oh God don’t make me do it” vibe that I am tossing off along the with little bits of terror sweat. It’s just one of my many quirky behaviors….there are many I assure you.
So as much as I tried to avoid and deflect this woman was just hell bent on getting me on her cell phone to talk to her boss. I wanted to help her so I just had to suck it up and flinch as I pictured the layer of ewe that was about to touch my face. Yeah so I damn near lost my shit when she pulls a piece…..out of her ear and plops it in my palm. Call me a freak but asking me to shove a piece of anything that just came out of any of your orifices into my own….well that’s just kind of a lot to ask of anyone let alone a perfect stranger working in a wine shop.
I had thought that was one of the most awkward personal space issues I had been involved in for a while at the shop. Sure I have the folks that finally work up the nerve to touch me, (I don’t throw off a terribly warm, come cuddle me kind of vibe) and it seems that once they jump that hurdle they can’t stop….petting me, (shudder). I’m just not built that way and when these, (and there are only a couple of them) people start rubbing me I flash on Of Mice and Men and fear one of them is going to have a Lenny moment. I tolerate it, never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable but it is a bit of an issue for me when I see someone’s paw slowly moving towards me, feel my shoulders get a little stiff as I feel their unwelcomed meat mittens rubbing my back and arms….like I said, I’m just not a snuggly person so strangers rubbing me, I assume in an effort to comfort me….well it has the total opposite effect.
For the most part I have been very lucky in that there have been very few people that have asked me to do something that was, in my opinion, a little out of the scope of what I am willing to do for my job. Oh they say and suggest plenty of shit that causes me to step back but on the whole talking front, well I can kind of hold my own there. No problem what so ever shooting down the, “You guys should use the Hooters business model” and the, “Sam if you guys set up a free kiss with each bottle purchased, I would buy a case a week”….gotta love buzzy dudes, but what happened yesterday, well that one might just take the cake.
“Smell my finger” I stood there my neck elongated, head jerking backwards, eyes wide and fighting the mass of eyebrow that was scrunching down upon them, looking at this woman standing in my French department with her arm extended…two fingers being offered for me to take a sniff of. Now even with the people I love this might be a bit much to ask, I would likely do it but, “Smell my finger” from a stranger?! C’mon dude. I must have looked like someone just gave me a Brazilian because this woman’s husband appeared like Superman just as she started to bring her fingers to my “is this really happening?” face. “Honey don’t make her smell your fingers!” he said sharply but with a bit of a chuckle in his tone, he’s lucky I am not a touchy person because I may have had my very own Lenny moment trying to express my gratitude.
The woman wanted me to pick a wine to go with the marinade she had just made, the marinade that was clearly still on her hands and she thought it would help me to smell it rather than just hear what was in it. Not a bad idea I guess but there are just certain things you simply cannot expect people to do and….smell my finger is pretty high on that list. I picked a beautiful little Cotes du Rhone to go with the assembled in my head and not sniffed from her fingers marinade and went back to helping others on the floor. A few minutes later I could see the finger lady and her husband standing at the register ready to check out.
I rounded the corner of the counter and was met with a very red-faced woman. “I’m sorry I asked you to sniff my finger” she said with a nervous giggle. Turns out this woman was born in another country and whatever civil place that might be seemed to miss out on the smell-my-finger playground antics. She and her hubby were in full fits of giggles as I rang up and bagged their wines which in turn had me in giggles too. “Sorry again” she shouted as she headed for the door, “Oh don’t worry about it, least you gave me the best story of the day”.