I was too horrified to pay attention to his name. I’ll say, Howard?
I’d seen him swirling his fingers through a small can of Libby’s Vienna Sausage, eating the tiny wieners bite by bite. Gross.
Howard sat down next to me at the bus stop. Right next to me.
“Hi,” I say suspiciously. He looks 70 so I’m not too concerned.
“Hellooooo young lady,” he says. I start fiddling with my Blackberry to try and avoid conversation. He pays no attention and starts talking.
“What brings you here today?” I’m trying to be polite.
“Well. I’m on my way back from the doctor’s office and turns out that I got chicken pox!”
“Wow. Well don’t touch me okay? Chicken pox aren’t fun,” I say this with a little laugh but anyone in their right mind would understand that I’m not joking. Who wants to get chicken pox from a random stranger at the bus stop?
We chat for awhile. I decide to be nice because he obviously needed a friend. Apparently, my polite questions were taken as something more than just polite questions because before I knew it, Howard was asking me if I liked Vienna sausages and if I’d like a can of his. Afterall, they were on sale this week at Longs. Two for $1.
“No thanks,” I say.
“Really, I insist,” he says.
“No, I don’t like them,” I reply.
“Have you tried them,” he probes?
“No, but I know I won’t like them,” I say firmly.
“Take them. Try them. Really.”
I take the yucky can of sausages and try to barely touch the can before quickly setting them on the seat next to me.
“Put them in your purse. Go on. Put them in your purse,” Howard urges.
I put the stupid sausages in my purse as the bus rolls up. Howard grabs my hand goodbye and all I can think of is shingles and sores and itchy milk baths. I wave goodbye and hold my hand away from the rest of my body the entire way home.
And then I scrub like mad.