Early this morning, my wife had to get to the bus station 50 miles away in the big city (pop. 33,000); we left home at 5:30, a time when I’m often headed to bed.
Before returning to the house I stopped by a grocery store (probably the biggest one within 100 miles of home), a few minutes after it opened. The place was largely deserted, except for a few workers, me, and one other guy, in his late 30s or early 40s. After a few movements of that dance where, every time I came down the next aisle, he came up it in the opposite direction, the man finally spoke.
“Can you do math?” He was standing looking at a display of seltzer water bottles, marked ‘6 for $3.’
“I’m not too bad at it,” I decided.
“This stuff is usually 85 cents each,” he said. “I can’t figure out if this is a good deal.”
“It’s a good deal,” I said, dividing 6 into 300 and getting a number less than 85.
“Thanks.” Then, shrugging, he smiled and said, “I suck at math.”
“It never hurts to ask questions,” I told him. “For example, I don’t have a watch, so I might ask you what time it is.”
“I could answer that one,” he said, and we resumed our dance.