How good are you at minding your own business? Usually I am ok at it. I truly believe the scripture that says “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your hands just as we told you. (1 Thess 4:11) I try I really do, but sometimes I just can’t help it. Just ask Cole, if you can pry him out of the hole in the Walmart floor he willed to swallow him alive.
The two of us were making a quick stop at the great American One Stop Shopping Spot. Ironically, the ever beautiful and amazingly sweet Tiffany was there to meet us. This is Cole’s girlfriend of over 2 years. We have been amazed at his creativity in the ways of love. On rare occasions he can also be pretty clueless. I try to help guide him, which usually falls on deaf ears. Even my husband has gotten exasperated at honing his son on this subject. I finally had to gently remind Cliff that if my memory serves me correctly, Cole is acting exactly like his father did at 19. While not a cardinal sin by any mean, Cole thinks like a 19-year-old guy, which is way different from a 19-year-old gal. It doesn’t seem to phase Tiff too much. That is all that matters. I relented to minding my own business and let his relationship be his relationship.
So I grab what I need and end up in line behind Bleacher Mom. I would know her anywhere by the cases of the multi-colored sports drinks and nuclear strength deodorant on the conveyor belt. She has struck up a conversation with our checker, Joe College. His athletic build tells the story that he is not real thrilled he hasn’t gone pro by now, hence the Walmart gig. My guess is he torn his ACL and is quite bitter that his dream of sports fame ended up resulting in a proverbial air ball.
I get distracted at this point by Nascar Nellie, who had filled in behind me. She has a loaded down cart with tons snack food. She has long thick gray hair that manages to go everywhere at once and a leather jacket with all sorts of car sponsor emblems on it I am sure she has not taken off since Nascar was invented. She is lamenting on her phone that “I just bought our lottery tickets, so now I don’t have any money for gas.” Apparently the Jeff Gordon of her life on the other end of the call is not happy and is trying to reduce her to a speed bump verbally. Once again, my caution flag went up and I fought to break out of my fascination to see if she would be making more laps with her driver. None of my business. I turned back to my purchase.
“Oh, she will come around. I did.” was coming from Bleacher Mom in a very comforting voice. “If your girlfriend doesn’t like sports, you just need to be patient.”
Joe College’s expression said “lady, I’ve been down this road with the ol’ the ball-and-chain a million times. I am doomed to sports hell for the rest of my days. So just grab your groceries and go!” Lucky for him Joe is not stupid and was not actually saying this, hence no more job at Walmart therefore ending his Sports Illustrated subscription, the Dish Network and pizza delivery prior to the KU vs K-State game-the holy grail of all Kansas sporting events.
Bleacher Mom was not breaking through. She was about to give up and walk out the door with this crisis unresolved.
“Let me help you out.” came a voice, I realized was mine. The Ann Landers in me was jumping in to recover this possible fumble. “You have to trust me on this one.”
Bleacher Mom looked very relieved that I was subbing myself in.
Joe College’s eyes were saying “Oh great another one! I am requesting to be scheduled on the graveyard shift from now on. Who are these people?”
I continued undeterred by his Bobby Knight Death Glare. “The next time you are watching a game, pick out a player and tell her something personal about the player.”
Bleacher Mom confirmed the advice with an emphatic head nod. (Yes, we are instant soul sisters! I picture us working together doing relationship interventions that would make Dr. Phil proud.)
So I go for it. “For instance, Thomas Robinson of the University of Kansas just lost not only his mother last week, but both of his grandparents in the 2 weeks prior. Read more about it. (Joe’s eyes light up a titch and I can tell I’m dribbling on familiar KU ground) Tell her that story and she will say ‘oh, that is terrible!’, because it will pull at her heart. The more of those stories the more she will connect. You have to give us gals something personal to work with.” Bleacher Mom is clutching her heart in empathy by this time, although her stuff is all sacked and she knows should have been long gone by now. She juggles her cases of Gatorade and her many plastic sacks threaded on her arm as she gives me that ‘mom’ look of passing her project off to good hands.
Joe College is not sold. “You don’t get it. Awhile back I watched the Chiefs game and she was with me on it, but threw a fit when KU came on after it. Come on it was KU for crying out loud! She will never get it.”
I refrained from saying that she was a gift from above if she is not a sports fan and sat through 1 full game-let alone 2! To flip the scenario if it had been the America’s Next Top Model marathon, I know Joe College would not have watched 5 minutes for her. I can tell these things.
I sincerely looked in his eyes and said “Trust me on this and have some patience. I know of which I speak.”
I glance over to see Cole and Tiff who have already checked out.
“Hey Tiffany, come here!” I holler over 2 aisles.
Joe College rolls his eyes as to say “Oh, just shoot me now!” Ironically, Cole picks up Joe’s exact eye roll and expression (It must have been a virus or something?)
Behind me, apparently relieved that her hubby has not filed divorce papers, Nascar Nellie is intrigued to see what is going to happen.
Tiffany suspiciously comes over to me. “Tiffany, if Cole is watching sports that you aren’t into and he tells you a personal story about one of the players are you more apt to be interested in the game?”
Tiff is my girl, I’m telling you. She smiles her charming smile and confirms with a simple “yes.”
I leave Joe wishing him luck, asking him to trust me and be patient with her. I still don’t think he know what hit him.
As we walk out, I hear Cole say under his breath to Tiffany “A post. I swear my mom will talk to a post.”
I share with him that some day Joe College will thank me when he gets the coveted KU tickets as a Christmas present from his beloved. I’m simply helping a clueless brother out.
I also believe the scripture that says, “there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Ecc 3:7. I like to think that when Joe College is Joe Husband he will speak well of us when he passes on this nugget of wisdom to some poor guy that he was once in his shoes.