In Walmart last night, I stood in the bread aisle and stared. There is nothing quite as uniquely difficult as picking out bread from a bread aisle.
An squat older man with a black mustache also stood there, contemplating. When I moved, he moved, both of us considering the same brand.
“Which is better, Whole Wheat or Honey Wheat?” he asked me.
Wary as I always am in these situations, I smiled nervously and looked away. “I’m not sure, sorry.”
“Honey Wheat sounds pretty flavorful. I’m thinking Whole Wheat might be drier, though. That’s what I’m looking for.”
“I’m not a connoisseur of bread.” I glanced at him, and he was smiling to himself. “But yeah, you might be right. Whole Wheat sounds pretty healthy. Grains and all that.”
“Sometimes they just say that to make you feel better about yourself,” he said. “But I guess it can’t hurt.”
I looked back at the packages. “I can’t decide what to get,” I admitted.
“Try the Butter Bread,” he said. “Trust me, it’s delicious. Kind of a paragon of bread, if you know what I mean.”
“I do,” I said, laughing. It looked the same as all the others, but I grabbed it and tossed it in my cart. “Thanks.”
He grinned and tucked his Whole Wheat bread into his own cart. “You have a nice night, okay?” he said.
With that, he trundled off to whatever destination he next had in mind, if he had one at all. Maybe he was just wandering, as I was.
I smiled to myself, that little smile you get when something has unexpectedly, inexplicably made your day. Funny how you can meet a person like that in the bread aisle and laugh at something like Whole Wheat bread. Funny, too, how soon you’ll forget them.