I blame this infernal dismal weather, but yesterday I couldn't help myself.
Since moving to Tennessee, I've struggled with what I perceive to be "southern charm" - syrupy sweetness that is only surface deep. I've met so many incredibly (way incredibly) sweet people who greet me warmly, but don't have time for meaningful relationships that hold depth. Enough of that soap box... that's just background.
As I marched through Costco on a mission and a desired time frame by which to complete that mission, I saw a lady farther up in the isle stop a perfect stranger and tell her hi, and how much she wanted to bless her. The other lady clearly found the moment awkward, being caught off guard and not knowing exactly how to respond; she moved along as quickly as she politely could. I knew "blessings woman" would stop me because people just seem to have a harder time walking past me without staring, commenting, smiling or cringing these days thanks to my protuberant waistline (who am I kidding - the waistline long since disappeared - let's go for abdomen). I whizzed by her, hoping for escape, but to no avail. As I passed her, she exclaimed, "Well, hi there!" (as if we'd known one another for years). I spun around and lit up my face in an exuberant smile, as I would upon seeing a dear friend from the past. I exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, hi!" Then, I ran up and hugged her and said, "How are you? It is SO INCREDIBLY GREAT to see you!". A troubled look washed over her face and she stuttered, "Oh... yeah... I... I just wanted to bless you." Pause... I re-assured her, "It is so wonderful to see you, again." I left her hesitantly as I would a dear friend, while I watched her rush her husband along, and as quickly out of Costco as she could. It is unnerving to wrestle with "how" you know someone and where you know them from when you just have absolutely no recall on the matter.
I did feel (slightly) cruel and I was terribly delighted at the same time. If I'm going to be universally charming, it better be sincere and not (deeply) meaningless.