“Dude!” I hear someone say as I stand in line at the grocery store.
I turn and see a somewhat familiar face behind me in line, pushing a cart full of Bud Light and Margarita mixes.
“Hey” I responded, lacking any better comeback.
“How ya been, man?”
“Been good, you?” I look at him quizzically.
“Ben, man, remember?”
“Oh yeah” I said scraping the corners of my brain to remember this person.
“We used to party all the time, remember?”
“Oh, I remember. How ya doing?”
“Awesome. Getting ready for a big weekend at the house.” he points to his cart full of alcohol. He motions me to come closer to him which I hesitantly oblige. “You know where I can get some weed, man?”
I snort out a laugh, trying unsuccessfully to control the strange noise that comes from your nose when you have to laugh, but refuse to open your mouth to let it out. “Man, I haven’t bought that in over 20 years.”
“Has it been that long? Whoa dude, we’re getting old”
I smiled at him and his black Foghat T-shirt that is way too tight on him. “Yeah, I guess we are”
“Man, you want to come over for a drink or something?”
“Nah, don’t drink any more”
“You still hang out over at Timbuktu?” in reference to a dive bar that I spent many a nights closing down.
“Um, no. I get up early to get my daughter to school and since I don’t drink…..” I replied
“Oh yeah….right. You got kids then?”
Although many responses came to mind, several of them referencing Captain Obvious, I simply responded with a “Yup”
“Me too, but I haven’t seen them in a while. The Ex won’t let me see them for some reason. So dude, you don’t drink, you don’t smoke and you don’t hang out. You must have a REALLY boring life.”
I smiled at him because even though he didn’t mean it as a compliment, after all that I have put myself through, it was probably one of the best compliments I have received in a very, very long time!