I’m blaming the crushing heat for turning people into weirdos because I’ve had a few “Did that just happen?” moments lately. The strangest was at a QuikTrip on a Tuesday afternoon when the heat index was 102.
It all started when I attempted to find an empty gas pump because I cruised into the QuikTrip on fumes — literally. Of course, all the pumps were full so I parked and went inside for a 32-ounce Diet Coke with crushed ice, a pump of cherry flavoring and as I was thinking about how a splash of Rooster Booster might taste, a woman who looked perfectly sane begins accosting me about drinking Diet Coke.
Her opening line was, “Why are you killing yourself.”
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What is it about the Diet Coke police? They’ve gotten very brazen.
Furthermore, I don’t see people going into bars and bombarding patrons with the latest findings from the National Institute of Health about how high-risk drinking has increased by almost 60 percent. Where’s that temperance league?
But, sure let’s pick on the woman getting a Diet Coke. A part of me wanted to tell her my back story: I don’t drink coffee, can count on one hand the number of alcoholic drinks I have in a year, have never smoked, work out almost every day and am hesitant to take even a Motrin. So, yeah I drink a fountain Diet Coke because it’s my vice..
Of course, I didn’t do this because I don’t have to defend my Diet Coke drinking habit to a stranger wearing questionable “jorts” (jean shorts) and carrying a fake Lois Vuitton handbag at a QT.
(Seriously, why does anyone even drop close to 2,000 go buy a real Louis Vuitton anymore? There are so many fakes on the market I now just assume everyone is carrying a phony one. If Johnson County had a mascot it would a faux Louis Vuitton bag. As long as you don’t check the interior of the purse it’s hard to tell. Fortunately, “Jorts” had her purse open and the lining was a dead giveaway that it was not the real deal.)
So, instead of giving “Jorts Vuitton” my health history, I informed her that I’m in long-term relationship with Diet Coke, that it’s my one true love in life and we will never be parted, not even in death because I plan to be cremated clutching a QuikTrip Styrofoam cup filled to the brim with the chemical wonder that is Diet Coke.
My humor wasn’t appreciated at all. It had the opposite effect. It emboldened her. Jorts went full on tent revival preacher letting me know that Diet Coke is not only a “killer” but part of some sugar substitute conspiracy.
I tried to shake her. The expedite thing to do would be to just leave the QT, but I had to pay for my beverage because I wasn’t leaving without it.
And how would that look? Jorts would have thought she had won, and more importantly I really wanted my Diet Coke. Once I paid she followed me to my car. I was stymied. Do I get in my car? Will she try to get in my car with me? Do I go back inside the QT?
The only think I could think to do was take a huge sip of my soda. All this weirdness had made me nervous and thirsty. Jackpot! Seeing me drink the Diet Coke freaked her out and she fled like she was on fire to her Ford Explorer.
I was beyond relived and celebrated by cuddling with my Diet Coke. Killer? Please, I think it just saved my life.