And Thus Spaketh The Boice In My Head: Get Thee To A Big Box Store, Where You Will Enjoy Low Low Prices On Cat Food And Batteries

Yes. Sometimes I listen to the voices in my head. I gave Max the last can of wet food this morning and knew my very existence depended on replenishing his stock of Stinky Goodness, plus the battery in my wireless mouse puked out on me last night, so I had go to shopping somewhere. And even though Tar-zhet Booteek is closer, I went to WalMart.

Fancy Feast is only 41 cents a can there. It’s 70 cents at the grocery store. While I indulge my cat’s picky tastes, I’m not entirely stupid. I go where it’s cheaper, and then I buy more crap to make up the difference.

I grabbed six cans of premium, no gravy, no aspic, nothing weird that will make the cat vomit on me wet food and was heading for the batteries when I heard a loud, booming voice: “Thumper!”

Now granted, my first thought wasn’t “Yes, God?” but looking back, it could have been one of those moments, because it was one of Those Voices. Loud. Authoritative. Military DI-Type Voice.

I spun in several different directions, trying to figure out who was not only calling out to me, but specifically, who around here knows me as Thumper???

And then I spotted the tall man in the USAF blues walking towards me, smiling, and his wife trailing a step or two behind—along with a little girl who was pointing and giggling, as if thinking, “Daddy is an idiot! That lady doesn’t look like Bambi’s best friend!” Now, I don’t know these people very well, having only met him twice and her once, but I was happy to see them, and instantly had this “Oh please tell me you’re stationed here now” hope bubble up inside.

Sadly, that is not to be; Mitch and his wife Lisa were once stationed out here, but within a week of arriving he got orders for a one year remote assignment so she went back home, and I never really go the chance to know them. We met through a mutual friend and had lunch a couple of times at the BX Food Court; by the time Mitch returned and Lisa moved back, the Spouse Thingy and I were in Ohio. Tomorrow they’re leaving for Japan, and it was just dumb luck that I ran out of cat food on the day they decided to make one last trip to WalMart to stock up on things to keep their little girl occupied during the trip.

Their little girl is 18 months old and has one of those sparkly smiles you can’t help but grin when you see it. She’s at that age where she speaks in one or two words spurts, she points a lot, and giggles almost maniacally. If the Spouse Thingy had been there, he probably would have offered to babysit her for the next 3 years while they’re off enjoying Japan.

We chatted in line as we paid for our things, and then decided to sit in the attached McDonalds to have a burger and a drink, and to talk for a little bit longer. Sitting with their daughter reminded me of trips to McD’s when the Boy was young: like my son, she favored the chicken nuggets, and like him, she ate the coating off and discarded the meat. She likes her milk chocolate and her French fries jammed up her nose (well….the Boy never did that, I don’t think…) She also made me seriously miss—again—the kids from the neighborhood in Ohio.

Yep, the Boy needs to graduate, get a really good paying gig, find the Right One, get married, and have a kid (in that order, please) so I can have a grandchild to spoil.

We sat there and chatted for about an hour, talking about not much in general (in between bouts of pulling fries out of their daughter’s nose, which was probably funnier to me than it was to them) and just enjoyed the moment. It was nice, because even though these aren’t people with whom I am very close (but hey, I did give them my email address!) it was comfortable, and I don’t feel that way very often. I’m a little bummed that our paths crossed now, when they’re getting ready to leave, but chances are they’ll cross again.

In the meantime, I still have the voices in my head, which will surely tell me where to go again on another day. Hopefully next time there will be chocolate involved.

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