It was a normal Thursday evening. I was about three quarters of the way home from work, and I pulled into a 7-11 to pick up a Spike energy drink and some cigarettes. The two guys who usually work this shift were not there that night. I have an acquaintance level relationship with the two regular guys, and it generally takes the form of small talk with the occasional free fountain soda. Apparently they got that night off. They were replaced by a long blond-haired kid with a wispy beard and an assortment of other cranial accessories. He also had an affinity for staring too intensely for someone in the customer service industry. The other person working was a slightly overweight Latin American girl who could only be described as slap-happy (well that, and overweight). They were standing over by the hot dog machine watching intently as the semi-meat rotated over and over. Apparently, this is how they passed the time during a 12 hour shift on a Thursday. I suddenly felt slightly better about my own job.
I was in the back of the store looking through their expansive selection of energy drinks, all the while keeping an ear to the conversation the night shift replacements were having. When I turned around to glance at them, the girl was nostril deep in one of the store's Valentines Day special treats and the guy was just staring at her (his specialty). She removed her nose from the top of it, giggled eerily, and began reading the back of it. Instead of reading aloud so Metal Face could be educated, she finished reading it to herself and paraphrased it for him. I couldn't hear a word she was saying. Besides being slap-happy and overweight, she was also soft spoken. At that point I gave up on hearing anything juicy or interesting, and made my way over to the snacks. I needed to pick up a bag of Wild Berry Skittles for my wife (she loves little surprises, and generally reciprocates accordingly). I was searching the aisle for that purple bag of sugary aphrodisiacs when Metal Face shouted loudly for her to cease her diatribe so he could retort. Actually he said "hold up, hold up, what choo say?" She whispered back to him. He replied "So, you drop these in the bath and your bubbles smell like roses?"
I made my selection and proceeded to the girl's side of the counter (the guy creeped me out, and I prefer whispers to 50 yard stares). I tried to search the area around her register for what they were talking about while they both fumbled through the wall of cigarettes looking for my brand. I saw candy roses, real rose bunches, single roses, but nothing that resembled anything that could possibly apply to their conversation. Before I could inquire what they were discussing, she shouted the total amount of my purchase. She said it loudly and clearly with an authoritative tone that said "you go now." So I did.
I got back into my car, fastened my seat belt (click it or ticket), and turned the key. Before I could go over the encounter in my mind, I found myself pulling into my driveway. I skipped my normal routine of letting the dogs out, changing out of my work clothes, and pouring myself a drink. I went straight to my front porch to have a cigarette and ponder what this Valentine treat was and what its intended purpose was. My initial thought was one of absolute absurdity, and it was the most entertaining one with which I could construct, so I went with it. I pictured a flimsy plastic package that contained five small rose bud shaped soaps. These would be used in a bathtub, and would create a soapy layer of suds on top of the bathwater.
I pictured a couple of young newlyweds. It was February 14th, so they would most certainly share a warm bath together. The woman would be feeling romantic, and the man would be feeling ancy. He bought her the rose bud soaps at the corner store, but as far as she knew they were from Bath and Body Works or even better, they were imported from France or Italy just for the special Hallmark holiday we call Valentines Day. The only light would be from the candles burning in the bathroom (also purchased from 7-11), and the sound of sloshing water would be complimented by the dulcet tones of Marvin Gaye or Jodeci.
Everything would be perfect for his big opportunity to have a V-Day love fest. Right then, he would break out the ace in the hole. A series of three to four limericks, haikus, or short romantic poems. He would read them to her in his throatiest voice. She would be giddy with anticipation for his next surprise. Well, her giddiness would soon subside when his relaxed state would lead to the expulsion of a little gas. It would bubble out from underneath him, rise steadily up toward the surface, and burst into the froth of rosy suds. Their silence would be met with a stare of anticipation for what was surely to come. He would be rosy cheeked, she would be hardly impressed. After the anticipation wore off, the curiosity would ensue. They each knew what he just did, and they each knew what the normal nasal repercussions were for such a deed. This time something was different. Not only did their bathroom not smell like a combination of broccoli and bitter beer, it actually smelled better than it did before. Did the rose-shaped soaps have a second purpose beyond just creating a layer of suds? Were they super soaps designed to soak up flatulence and turn it into a floral bouquet? And most importantly, why were these wonder soaps sold at 7-11 and not at Bath and Body Works or imported from Europe?
Either way, I still say the purchase of the soaps, candles and Jodeci tracks from ITunes are a waste of time, money and energy. He could have skipped all that and just bought his lady-friend a bag of Wild Berry Skittles. We live and we learn bro... we live and we learn.