I stopped at the liquor store the other day when I got off work to pick up some beer for the rafting trip I had planned the next day. I hate liquor stores, but a trip to HEB or Wal-Mart was out of the question on a Saturday afternoon. It had been a particularly crappy day at work and I was in a shitacular mood. Not wanting to run into anybody I knew, I scanned the place for familiar faces as I entered the store. Looking around, I saw an older man wearing a tropical print Tommy Bahama shirt, white shorts, black dress socks, and white deck shoes. He kinda reminded me of Barry Weiss from Storage Wars. There were two college aged girls in the beer section trying to decide between Bud Light and Bud Light Lime. Ewww. I could see their bikini straps tied around their necks under their t-shirts and I figured they were going rivering. Tourists. There was a hippie looking dude in the rum section wearing a tie-dye t-shirt, khaki shorts that had a zillion pockets, Jesus sandals, and longish-wavy hair. He reminded me of the guy from the freecreditreport.com commercials and I thought he was kinda cute. The woman in a navy pant suit and bad flats was eying the wine bottles as if they were Chippendales dancers, while the middle-aged guy in an LSU t-shirt and jeans was eying Navy Pant Suit lady. The guy behind the counter was young, early 20’s, with a 90’s goatee and eye glasses that were too small for his face. He was busy counting lighters at the check-out and didn’t even look up when I walked in. I silently sighed a sigh of relief. There wasn’t a soul here that I knew. I walked to the back of the store for my 12 pack of Lone Star. College Girls were still debating the Bud Light issue and I smiled as I moved between them to get to my beer. They did not smile back or even move out of the way for me. Fucking tourists. I squeezed in, grabbed my beer and headed to the check-out. Barry Weiss guy was at the front of the line asking for cigarettes and lottery tickets. (So many vices in one small place!) LSU dude was in line behind him and I took my place next. College girls had settled on Bud Light Lime and stood behind me. One was yacking away about her cat while the other was busy texting on her phone. They had longneck bottles instead of cans. Friendly Liz wanted to tell them that glass is not allowed on the river, but Sassy Liz told her, (in my head) “Fuck it. Let them get fined.” Hippie guy walked up with a bottle of Captain Morgan in tow and I imagined him drunk and stoned with his friends, putting one leg up and proclaiming, “Yeah, I’ve got a little Cap’n in me!” Navy Pant Suit was at the caboose with three bottles of wine in her arms, cradling them like a baby. My feet hurt, I was tired and cranky, and yes, I was a little impatient. LSU dude turned around and said to me, “You smell very nice. What’s that scent you’re wearing?” God, I was not in the mood to get hit on. Sassy Liz wanted to say, “Nothing, it’s my natural body odor. I was born smelling like flowers,” but Friendly Liz stepped in and said, “Thank you, it’s ‘Colors’ by Benetton,” with a forced smile.
“Damn, they still make that?” he said.
Maybe he wasn’t hitting on me, maybe he was just a dick.
Before Friendly Liz could stop her, Sassy Liz blurted out, “Nah, it was discontinued years ago, but lucky me, I’ve got a lifetime supply!” Friendly Liz started yelling at Sassy Liz inside my head. “What the hell was that? What does that even mean? Dumbass.” Meanwhile, Barry Weiss was still at the front, gripping his bottle of Crown Royal and leaning across the counter as he continued to pick out his scratch-offs. LSU dude tilted his head, confused, and said, “Oh, yeah? How’s that?” My heart skipped a beat for a second and that’s when it happened…
Sassy Liz took over and began to explain that after I found out it was discontinued, I ordered as many bottled as I could from Benetton’s website, then onto e-Bay, Amazon, and Overstock.com. “You know, the ‘O’?” I said, making my very best ‘O’ face, pausing so he could get it. (He didn’t get it.) I noticed that College Girl #1 had stopped talking about her cat and College Girl #2 had put her phone put away. They were both listening intently to what I was saying. That’s when I started to getting into the science of the matter. I explained that I was able to store the bottles in my wine cellar. (As soon as the word “wine” passed through my lips, Navy Pant Suit looked up from the floor she had been staring at for so long and was suddenly interested in what I was saying.) “You see,” Sassy Liz explained, “wine cellars are ideal for perfume storage. The cool temperature and perfect humidity level keep the oils from evaporating and leaving just the alcohol. You know when your grandma wears the same perfume that has sat on her vanity for umpteen years and it just stinks? That weird old lady perfume smell? That comes from improper storage. Most people don’t realize that perfume has a shelf life of about one year.” I kept chatting on about how once a perfume has “turned” it may smell nice in the bottle, but when it interacts with the natural oils on the skin, the scent will change for the worse and it can be difficult to wash off. Looking around, I realized that all eyes were on me, hippie dude looked amazed, Barry Weiss guy had stopped to turn around and listen to me, and I noticed my friend John standing in line behind Navy Pant Suit with a bottle of Jagermeister, smiling. (When did he get here?) I felt like Lisa Kudrow in ‘Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion’ when she explained how she had invented post-it notes to the bitches from her class. I had no idea what I was talking about and I was pretty sure that at no point ever Benetton had discontinued making ‘Colors.’ But Sassy Liz was confident. She may not have known what she was talking about, but she sure sounded like it. I was rather impressed with myself. I shifted my weight to my left side, the Lone Star felt heavy in my arms. Barry Weiss completed his purchase, thanked the clerk, and turned around towards me. He smiled and tipped his imaginary hat in my direction before he left. I looked back at my friend and said, “Hi, John!” He said, “Hey Liz,” then went back to focusing on College Girls’ butts. I heard the clerk ask LSU dude if he wanted a bag. He didn’t. As LSU stepped aside to put his change in his wallet, I set my Lone Star on the counter, relieved from the weight. I pulled out my card to pay as LSU looked at me and lifted his arm with his beer in the air as if to say “Cheers!” That’s when I noticed the 40 oz. Olde English Malt Liquor he was buying.
Without hesitation, Sassy Liz looked at the bottle, looked at LSU dude and said,
“Damn, they still make that?”