There was no one behind the counter at Barnes & Noble, but then a late-teenage girl called to me from the gift section nearby. “Go ahead and go to #2, and I’ll meet you there!”
B&N’s cash registers aren’t numbered, so I used my best deduction skills. She came behind the counter with a very obvious limp, catering her left side.
“Did you find everything you need today, ma’am?”
“I sure did. Thank you.”
“You know what I was just thinking about? I was just thinking about how I can’t wait to take a hot bath tonight. And I mean, hot.”
I smiled and nodded. I mean, who can’t go for a nice hot bath? Sure, I’ll roll with this.
“I broke my toe this morning, and they gave me a boot to wear, but I just didn’t feel good about wearing just a boot and a sock to work, so I have been in my regular shoes. But I’ve been leaning my hip way out, so now my back is hurting too, and what I really need is a hot bath.”
Yes, I see. This is what I hear.
“I called my sister, and I said, ‘You know what you should get? You should get bubbles.’ I can’t remember the last time I had a bubble bath. Whew. Tonight is my night.”
“Sounds like a great plan,” I offer.
“I’m sorry. You’ve just got to love listening to someone talk about nothing.”
Well, she wasn’t really talking about nothing. There was definitely a clear topic.
She ran my membership card, because you know I would have one for Barnes & Noble. And then she looked at my name, and – get this – she said, “Okay, Tricky. You have a good night.”
Tricky. As if Tricia is pronounced Trickya.
She’s actually the second person to make this phonetic mistake. The first one was in the church nursery when I was an infant. “Trickya is such a lovely baby,” she said to my parents.
This story is how I came to be nicknamed ‘Trachea’ for a short stint in my early twenties.
It’s Tricia, actually. Sometimes the ‘ci’ makes the ‘sh’ sound. Like in ‘special.’
Which is what that whole conversation turned out to be: just real special.