What *not* to say

I went grocery shopping after work last night. Not the sort of "must buy one of everything I will need for sustenance for the next three months" grocery shopping expeditions I'm known for, but rather just a short trip to pick up the basic necessities. While I was in the cleaning supplies aisle looking at dishwashing scruby sponges, this middle aged kind of scruffy-looking guy is about 6-7 feet away from me, looking at air fresheners. Up until this point, I haven't made eye contact of any sort, but I guess he feels chatty, so he pipes up and says "Boy we sure go through a lot of these things at my house!".

At this point, I kind of freeze. Because I'm engaging in an extremely rapid inner dialogue about how to respond. In fact, I'm kind of stunned by the statement. I mean is that really how anyone would think to break the ice? Through a declarative statement that essentially says "My house really smells bad!"? Oh, the strain...to respond with another pleasantry or the sarcastic remark that was reflexively being generated by my sarcastic self.

In the end though, I opted to just smile and nod, and then I picked my scrubby sponges and walked away. I'm sure he was a nice, well meaning fellow and didn't know what he was saying.