Recently, as I was hefting sacks of groceries into the house, a young couple pulled up in their beater car and parked nearby. We exchanged smiles and I went back to hefting. I was surprised when I looked up again and the woman was standing directly in front of me, as I thought our exchange was complete. Now, from whence I hail, quickly approaching a stranger to stand this close would be seen as aggressive. She seemed like an unlikely suspect, but was she about to mug me? I imagined a cute, but unpredictable Drugstore Cowboy-esque junkie couple on the lamb. I panicked that the grocery bags were too heavy for me to swing with any accuracy.
“Do you like this sweater?”, she asked.
I looked over at her boyfriend to see if he was armed.
“I paid $80 for it at Anthropologie but I’m not sure if I like it. Do you like it, hon?” She looked over at the boyfriend.
Straggledy-haired blond boyfriend stayed cautiously neutral but wisely offered that she looked pretty.
The sweater was tres Berkeley despite the chain store purchase: multi-colored, organically grown-looking and somewhat shapeless. I wouldn’t be caught dead in it, but it seemed to match her wholesome, nature gal vibe, so I, still waiting for the catch, volunteered that it was “nice”.
She repeated that the sweater had cost $80, and wanted confirmation from a complete stranger that she had paid too much. She was a wall of chirpy twitters, interrupting herself only once to say that she liked my outfit, and ask where it had come from. As my “outfits” rarely come from a single store-bought, chain store source, I condensed my response to “Banana”.
Conscious of melting dairy products still weighing me down, I finally offered that if she had so many doubts about that (fugly) sweater, then perhaps she should return it. Ten minutes later, satisfied with my answer, she suggested that we might see each other around and, with her boyfriend, headed over to the multiple-occupant surf-hippie house a few doors down.
Who does that?
Crazy Berkeley hippie kids.