A guy stopped me in the grocery store today just as I picked up one of those Chef Boyardee pizza kits. I only picked it up to look at the calorie count, which I knew would make me put it back. Before I could remember that my oven also burns everything it touches, I was distracted by learning that I'd gone to high school with the guy.
First he asked if he remembered me from somewhere, so I went through the litany of relationships in a tiny town (starting with "I'm Elizabeth Jones's granddaughter"). Then we established I was a high school chum of sorts, whereupon he said, "You look good. Are you married?" From there he proceeded to tell me about every single person from our high school, teachers and students alike, who had died in the last two decades. Every one. In a curiously affectless manner, let me add. With details such as "she was eating lunch and she dropped dead." I didn't know anyone he mentioned, although I did keep saying, "He sounds familiar, but I don't think I knew him." Then he asked me where I go to church. *shudder* I told him I live two doors down from our old elementary school librarian, which I thought might lighten the mood. He didn't react, but it apparently jogged his memory because he came up with another name--someone I knew!--who is alive but "drinking himself to death."
I only extricated myself from this odd conversation by saying, "I gotta go, my dog's waiting for me" and loping away. Otherwise I feel certain I would still be standing there in the dry goods aisle, listening to the recital of death and self-destruction, because my earlier, subtler attempts to end the conversation didn't work. Apparently in addition to everyone from my high school dying and drinking, at least one of us has skidded down the slope to "overmedicated."
I bought the pizza kit. The next to last thing I wanted to do tonight was make pizza from a box. The last thing I wanted to do tonight was contemplate mortality.