Well that was weird.
The old man must have been 85. At least.
His wife, not far behind him in years.
He was big for an old man. His wife was little, even for an old woman. This was evident by the fact that he was sitting high on top of a seat installed as part of his walker, and her eyes as she stood could look straight into his.
Their bodies were hunched. And wrinkly. And covered with sun spots. Both had thinning white hair.
She wore giant glasses that covered half her face. He wore a faded white button down with faint brown pin stripes that he’s probably worn weekly since he was 50.
He sat on his walker, with her hands in his.
They had this spark in their eyes that I noticed from my covert position on the other side of the jewelry counter at Walmart where I had camped just to watch their shenanigans from a safe enough distance that they wouldn’t take notice of me.
The couple were huddled-over, smack dab in the center of the greeting card aisle. Giggling.
They first caught my eye as they giggled quietly to each other, followed by rapid whispering to one another, followed by a crazy aggressive make-out session, followed by a quick embrace and a shared belly laugh between them.
It soon became evident what they were doing. They were fishing.
Fishing for victims? No. Not the right word. Fishing for an audience? No, that’s not it either. They weren’t exhibitionists. The way they were acting made that clear enough. No… They were fishing for… smiles. They were fishing for awkwardness. They were fishing for returned giggles and whispers from others. They were fishing for a spark to light up their otherwise uneventful day.
And the whole thing was awesome.
Every time someone began wandering down the greeting card aisle, which was often that day, the couple would do their whisper & giggle routine. Then the old man would loudly clear his throat just as the shopper was making her way awkwardly around them, and with a big burst of energy he pulled his wife in and said, “come here baby!” Then they’d make out. They’d force the other shopper to walk around their public display of affection, and if I had to guess they were making it as slurpy and as wet and as loud as they possibly could.
Oh, it was fantastic to watch.
A woman in her thirties was the first I watched go through their gauntlet of passion. This woman was pushing a cart with her small child facing her. The making out commenced. She hurried past and pretended she didn’t see anything at all. The old couple started laughing. The woman shot back a couple of disturbed glances mixed with half grins and disappeared around the next aisle.
Next was a young man with a wedding band on his finger. He couldn’t have been older than 23. He started side-shuffling down the aisle toward the couple, looking at the different greeting cards as he went. He got to the couple. He began working his way around them. “Come here, baby!” the old man said, and started making out with his wife. The young married man smiled and let out a chuckle. The old couple just went harder and faster. The young man was paralyzed in his tracks. He just stood and watched for a moment, then realized he was staring, and hurried and moved past with a big smile on his face.
Next were a couple of preteen girls in tank tops and short shorts. I laughed remembering my car temperature reading of 48 degrees on my way to the store. Yes, 48 degrees in June. They were just wandering through, shortcutting their way to the homemaking or automotive section, I’m sure. “Come here, baby!” the old man said as he pulled his wife into him. One of the teenage girls shrieked loudly. The other stared and gave a look of incredible disgust. The girl who shrieked pulled out her cell phone as they walked away and snapped a quick picture of the old couple making out. I can only assume it is floating around out there on Instagram somewhere.
All the while, I stood back, pretending to text on my phone, enjoying the show. I love people watching. Especially epic people watching like that.
I watched the show unfold for another four or five people, all who moved on without a word, but always (eventually) with a smile.
Except the last person. Me.
I finally wanted to get in on the fun, so I shoved my phone in my pocket and started meandering toward the greeting card aisle with all sorts of fun ideas of things I could say to them as I passed.
But, just as I was approaching the aisle, a ridiculously loud beeping tone sounded off in the man’s pocket, and the old couple became suddenly rushed and a bit concerned. They made their exit before I could get to them with the smart comment I was carrying in my back pocket.
Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog