My friend, Sasha, and I were asked to leave Target the other night. I've never been kicked out of Target before. This was a first for me. The problem was that we were face to face with a woman who, judging by the blank yet miserable look on her face, had no sense of humor whatsoever. To her it seemed life was a very serious thing indeed. Unfortunately, Sasha and I didn't share her serious outlook on life and that was at the heart of the misunderstanding.
Now, there are things in life that I actually do take very seriously, like safety issues concerning driving, climbing, water safety, or anything where I could possibly be endangering someone else's life or my own. Also, I'm not out to expose my "personal attributes" in public, either, because I'm sensitive to other people's conservative outlooks where some body parts are concerned and I wouldn't want to subject other people to that kind of psychological trauma. There are even times when I deem it necessary to polish up the old boarding school manners and put them on for a while.
This was neither the time nor the place for such seriousness. I have no qualms with generally causing a scene in public or acting like an idiot for my own and/or others' amusement. To be truthful, with the exception of those "prep school manners" moments, I'm not particularly concerned about offending someone else's sense of propriety. Not acting my age? That's my specialty. I take particular delight in romping about like a deranged puppy because there's simply just too much fun to be had.
I do have a strict set of rules for my misbehavior, though:
1. Don't do anything that might hurt innocent bystanders.
2. Leave things the way that I found them or neater.
3. If I break it, I buy it.
Hey, it's the least that I can do. I'm a mischief maker with a conscience.
So, fate led us to Target the other night after Sasha and I had gorged on Mexican food at a restaurant nearby. I had thrown down the gauntlet last week and challenged him to a light-sabre duel at Target to defend my honor and the time had come to make good on my challenge. We headed to Toys. Were we inconspicuous? Nope. Sasha is six foot four inches tall and isn't inconspicuous anywhere. Not only that, it was nearly closing time and the aisles were deserted.
Well, except for "the toy department woman", that is. I think that I heard her mutter, "Oh, no," when I grabbed a ball from the big ball bin and threw it down the big aisle to Sasha and then grabbed a bat for a few attempts to send the ball out of the park. She was ramping up. By the time that we got to the bikes, she tersely asked us if she could help us and told us that we could sit on the bikes for size, but couldn't ride them in the store.
But we weren't really that concerned about the bikes because we had something more serious to think about: the duel. We located our weapons and then took our positions in the aisle. After a few warm-up hits, the fight began in earnest. As he had predicted, Sasha's reach was a clear asset for him as we swung at each other. He knocked my light-sabre out of my hand and picked it up as I scrambled to re-arm myself. I threw myself into the fight with renewed vigor. At one weapon to his two and with a distinct height disadvantage, I was starting to smell defeat when we heard it from the next aisle over.
"That's it! You two have to go!"
It was Toy Department Lady. And she was mad. She fumed around the corner as Sasha went to put his weapons on the shelf. I looked at her for a moment. She stood there with her hands on her hips, staring at us with a blank yet angry expression on her face that made her look a little like a pissed off turtle.
Thoughts tumbled madly through my mind as I stood looking at her. "Why?" was the first thing that popped into my mind, but looking at her, I knew that she wasn't going to have a good answer for that. I'm sure that it would have just led to a talk with the manager or one of the security folks and Sasha and I had already planned to get a cup of coffee at Barnes & Noble, so we just didn't have the time for that kind of nonsense. I put everything back, undamaged and the way that I had found them, under her stern and unimaginative gaze. I know that she was taking her job of getting her department in order just before closing very seriously, but she didn't know me and didn't know about my "three golden rules of misbehavior," all of which I intended to honor. It just wasn't worth the argument, so we left the store and headed off to the bookstore for our coffee.
Still, the most important thing that I learned that night was that I got my butt whipped and Sasha must have out-hit me by at least two-to-one. Now there is another contest in the works and this time it has to be something where he can't use his height to his advantage. I proposed a tricycle race. He accepted. At nearly a foot shorter than him, I think that this one might actually work in my favor.