There was no one behind the counter at Barnes & Noble, but then a late-teenage girl called to me from the gift section nearby.  “Go ahead and go to #2, and I’ll meet you there!”

 

B&N’s cash registers aren’t numbered, so I used my best deduction skills.  She came behind the counter with a very obvious limp, catering her left side.

 

“Did you find everything you need today, ma’am?”

 

“I sure did.  Thank you.”

 

“You know what I was just thinking about?  I was just thinking about how I can’t wait to take a hot bath tonight.  And I mean, hot.”

 

I smiled and nodded.  I mean, who can’t go for a nice hot bath?  Sure, I’ll roll with this.

 

“I broke my toe this morning, and they gave me a boot to wear, but I just didn’t feel good about wearing just a boot and a sock to work, so I have been in my regular shoes.  But I’ve been leaning my hip way out, so now my back is hurting too, and what I really need is a hot bath.”

 

Yes, I see.  This is what I hear.

 

“I called my sister, and I said, ‘You know what you should get?  You should get bubbles.’  I can’t remember the last time I had a bubble bath.  Whew.  Tonight is my night.”

 

“Sounds like a great plan,” I offer.

 

“I’m sorry.  You’ve just got to love listening to someone talk about nothing.”

 

Well, she wasn’t really talking about nothing.  There was definitely a clear topic.

 

She ran my membership card, because you know I would have one for Barnes & Noble.  And then she looked at my name, and – get this – she said, “Okay, Tricky.  You have a good night.”

 

Tricky. As if Tricia is pronounced Trickya.

 

She’s actually the second person to make this phonetic mistake.  The first one was in the church nursery when I was an infant.  “Trickya is such a lovely baby,” she said to my parents.

 

This story is how I came to be nicknamed ‘Trachea’ for a short stint in my early twenties.

 

It’s Tricia, actually.  Sometimes the ‘ci’ makes the ‘sh’ sound.  Like in ‘special.’

 

Which is what that whole conversation turned out to be: just real special.

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