“You wouldn’t understand… It would be too hard to explain it to you,” said the manchild checking my groceries. I had asked him what he was studying at the university. There it was again, my confidence murdered by the quick summation of a stranger. My pigtails, my children, or perhaps just being a woman somehow pigeonholed me. My shoulders sunk a little and I fidgeted. What about me makes people assume I’m stupid? I thought. Beau once said he thinks I love Miss Marple because we have being underestimated by others in common.
Deep breath. I gave the manchild a slightly surprised face and smiled. “Oh?” I asked, challenging him. It was poetry theory. He gave me a weak (and unnecessary) explanation about what poetry theory was.
“Oh that sounds interesting,” I said cheerfully. “What kind of poetry do you like to read?”
He used a bunch of big words and spewed off a few names of men I didn’t know. “….that’s the kind of poetry I like to write.”
“Oh you write poetry?” I reiterated.
“That’s what I just said,” he scoffed.
Silence. I looked down at the credit card reader, my eyes wide, as if to tell the machine, “Can you believe this guy?” Then I signed it with my finger. I looked up and smiled. With all the passive aggressiveness this Seattle girl could muster, my face said, You’re a jerk.
“Do you read poetry?” he asked me. Probably to fill the silence.
“Oh really? What do you read?” I think he may have rolled his eyes as he grabbed another thing out of my cart.
“I love romantics like Keats and Shelley.”
“huh…yeah they’re ok. I don’t really like Keats. But the poets I like are a little bit influenced by them. They’re able to walk into a garden and notice the tiniest details like petals and…”
I inwardly smirked as Miss Marple flashed across my brain. Always being treated like a sweet old lady who wouldn’t understand, and much less someone who might hear them give away clues to a murder she knew much more about. I knew a thing or two about petals.
“Have you read Mary Oliver? She writes poetry like that.”
He looked taken aback. I’m not sure if it was because I knew a name he didn’t know, or surprise over me saying the name of a woman….or any name at all.
“No I haven’t.”
Receipt, my groceries were bagged and in the cart.
“Oh, you should check her out. She’s great.” I was halfway out the door. His mouth was gaping.
“Hey what’s your name?”
I stopped and turned my head over my shoulder. “Bridget.”
“It’s nice to meet someone who actually knows so much about poetry. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
I don’t actually know all that much about poetry. But my heart burst to see his opinion of my brain go from one end of the spectrum of miscalculation to the other. A tiny and insignificant triumph, and probably silly to write for a blog post, but I felt like I solved a murder.