Yesterday, I worked from 3-9 pm. For those of you who don't know, a grocery store is a thankless industry to work the late shift at, because almost no one comes in after 7.
Fortunately, my best friend among my coworkers, the amazing, fabulous Annie, was there, and we were keeping each other sane as the steady stream of costumers turned into a pathetic trickle.
Our shift was almost over (we both worked until 9), when this little old man came through the checkout. We bagged his groceries and urged him to have a nice night. Another guy came right behind him. After he left, the little old man is still standing there, zipping up his coat, smiling at us, and then he started to leave.
He turned around, and he was grinning this adorable, excited grin. "Would you girls mind hearing a story?"
It's 8:45 pm in a grocery store. We're all ears.
He started off saying, "If this isn't a women's story, I don't know what is. Have you girls ever heard of King Arthur; the Knights of the Round Table?"
We nodded eagerly, because Annie and I are nerds like that.
"Well, once, King Arthur actually got captured by a neighboring King. And...they're wondering, 'Well, should we kill the guy, or give him a chance to live?' So they decide, 'OK, we'll give him a chance to live.' So they said that he had a year to answer a very, very difficult question. And the question was this: What is the one thing all women want?"
Annie and I burst out laughing. Good question!
"So, a year is almost up, and King Arthur has no idea, and no one in his kingdom has any idea. But there was this witch in the kingdom, and somebody said, 'Well, why don't you go ask her?' Now, the witch was a person who looked like she'd just come out of a garbage heap, so, obviously, King Arthur was not too eager to go and talk to her. But he finally decided he would, so he went, and he asked her what it is that all women want. She said, 'Well, I know, but I want to marry Sir Lancelot, and then I'll tell you.'"
Annie and I were trying hard not to laugh, but it was just the greatest thing ever.
"Well, Sir Lancelot was one of those guys who would do anything for his king, so he agreed to marry the witch. So they got married, and the witch told King Arthur, 'The one thing all women want, is to have their own choice about things.' Which is true!"
Annie and I wholeheartedly agreed.
He made a detour in the story then: "And back then, men really had all the power. A woman didn't really rate higher than a cow. Even in Muslim countries, they still don't have a lot of say. Here, we fortunately have a lot more opportunity. But, anyway, King Arthur answered the question right, and they let him live. Now, Sir Lancelot was not looking forward to that wedding night, let me tell you,"
*insert Clare and Annie giggling*
"But, when he went into the bedroom, there was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen sitting there!"
Whitney, our floor manager for the night, joined us then, and I still don't think she understood fully what was going on, but she totally joined right in.
"The witch had turned into this beautiful girl, and Lancelot was thinking, 'Oh, wow...this is really great!' And the witch said, 'Now, you have a choice. I can be beautiful at night, and ugly during the day, or I can be beautiful during the day, and ugly at night.' Well, remembering the answer King Arthur gave, he said, 'Well, I think you should choose.' And the witch said, 'Alright; if it's my choice, I'll be beautiful for you all the time!'"
Annie and I thought this was a great ending, and we're all laughing, and the guy goes, "Now, the moral of the story is, 'Men, be good to your wives, or things might get ugly!'"
We all pretty much applauded, and the guy goes, "My wife and I have been married for 68 years,"
Whitney thought that was the most wonderful thing she'd ever heard. "Aw...congratulations!"
We thanked him half a dozen times for the wonderful story, and he told us to have a great night, and we said goodbye.
And then he left.
That may have been the best costumer I have ever met in my life.
The funny thing is, I think that made him happier than it made us!