more than just another bike blog

Friday, November 17, 2006

safeway stalking
(last night I met a random crazy-person)

So, I have several big Velo Girls logos on my car. It sometimes draws attention to me.

Last night I presented a clinic at Ocean Cyclery in San Francisco. Although the group was small, the questions were abundant and before we knew it, it was quite late. Assuming a sixty-minute clinic, I had planned to stop at Simpson's, go grocery shopping, and go to the gym before turning in for the night. Well, by the time I got back to San Mateo, it was after 11:00! So, the grocery was my only option.

I live next door to Safeway. It's one of the older, smaller Safeways that doesn't carry more than the essentials, but the senior citizens in the condo complex where I live have influenced the corporation to keep it open for them. That's not a bad idea, since they can walk to the store rather than get in the car they probably shouldn't still be driving at their ages....but I digress.

Late-night grocery shopping is typically pretty uneventful. The store echos with emptiness and the muzak rings like an elevator nightmare. The produce clerk has her own boom box playing her personal tunes to inspire high-quality produce-stocking. The store is otherwise quiet except the over-caffeinated employees, the zombie-like working stiffs on the way home from a late night at the office, and the random crazy-person. Last night, I met a random crazy-person.

I'm almost finished shopping, just trying to find one more package of reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese, shuffling through the roasted red pepper feta, the spinach artichoke feta, the full-fat feta, and the awol babybels that don't belong with the feta. Suddenly, I feel a rush of motion and a tug at my left coat-sleeve. Before I even turn to look, the sticky-sweet stench of alcoholic breath is overwhelming to me. And then I hear "you're THE VELO GIRL" in a blathery, slurry voice. I turn to see some dude in a bike helmet, complete with visor and teletubby stickers standing not 3" from my face. I take a step back, quickly size up the threat, read the embroidery on his jacket, and realize he's a bike shop employee at a shop in the city.

"Yes, I'm a Velo Girl," I reply, but before the words completely escape my mouth, he continues, saying he saw the car in the parking lot and just had to find me. He'd been searching all the aisles looking for THE VELO GIRL and when he saw the Clif Bar logo on my jacket he just knew it was me. Well, since I already admited it was me, I had no quick escape. I started breathing through my mouth so I wouldn't ralph from the stench of his breath.

He continued, telling me how he was the manager of this store and how this store was such a great store for women and how this store sponsored a women's tri team and how he worked in the bike biz for 15 years and how this store was the best store for women he'd ever worked at. Of course, I know the owner of this store (he had offered me a job about a year ago)* so I got sucked into the conversation. Bike Shop Employee proceeded to show me his purchases -- a big bottle and a big can of beer (Mickey's and something else), telling me several times that one was for his roommate (he assumed I cared).

At this point, my feet start moving toward the register. I'm hoping for salvation there, but Bike Shop Employee decides he needs to give me his email address so I can present some clinics at this bike shop.

I wonder if he'll remember this today.


*About a year ago I was driving on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. In the lane next to me was a van which appeared to be a team van, a bike tour company van, or a bike shop van. There weren't any logos, but there had to be 15-20 bike racks positioned on the top of the vehicle. At each intersection, the van would be stopped next to me at the red light. I looked at the driver but he wasn't anyone I knew. Finally, after about five lights, the man driving the van rolled down his passenger window and began waving wildly at me. He explained that he was the owner of a certain bike shop in SF and that he just had to meet THE VELO GIRL. What followed was a month-long email dialogue where the man tried really hard to pursuade me to go manage the women's section at this bike shop. Maybe accosting strangers (or at least THE VELO GIRL) is part of employee training at this bike shop.


At 11/17/2006 6:48 PM, Blogger X Bunny said...

safeway people are weird


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