My first job when I moved out here to California was as a sales associate at a well-known store in an outlet mall.
The mall was populated mostly by hordes of non-English speaking tourists, shoving and snapping their way to sales racks and discounted name brand stores.
At this particular store, on this particular day, I was feeling particularly out of the ordinary. My generally amiable demeanor had been replaced by a quiet, grumpy manner. I was not in the mood for anyone or anything.
Toward the end of the evening, as I surveyed the damage caused by shoppers, a man came in with a woman and three rowdy kids.
He was tall, broad, with blond hair under a baseball cap and a NASCAR leather jacket on.
Something like this…
She wore a purple top, jeans and wedges. The kids casually ran through the front of the store, playing tag and screeching, while the lady tried to settle them down by offering soothing suggestions like, “Tyler, get your ass over here!” and “Don’t touch that! I can’t pay for that shit if you break it!”
The man stood near me and watched as the woman went from irately yelling at her kids to playfully riding piggyback on the boy who looked like he was about 180 pounds lighter than she.
The woman asked the kids, “You ready to go?”
“Yeah,” they chimed in unison.
The man opened the door and ushered the family out. Just as he was about to leave, he turned to me and muttered, “First date.”
Suddenly, my day didn’t feel so bad.