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Absent Without Leave

Friday afternoon grocery shopping just outside the main gate of the air force base: I stopped to look at a product. An very tall, very wide airman dressed in fatigues said, “Excuse me.” I took a step to the left. He grabbed something from the shelf, dropped it in the cart and pushed it away. Only problem is, it was my cart — and my purse was in it.

“Hey! That’s my cart!” I said, hustling after the fellow. He turned into the dairy isle. I was forced to give way for an elderly shopper who took far too long walking around the gigantic airman and the shopping cart. The airman added milk to the cart and moved to the eggs. I caught up to him. “Wait!” I said.

He added eggs to my cart as I grabbed the side of the basket. He looked at me in stern disapproval and then glanced down at my hand — which was lifting my purse from the cart. I smiled and quipped, “It really doesn’t match your outfit.” The airman responded, “Ulp.”

Still smiling I looked way up, up, up at him and said, “I was afraid for a minute I was going to have to tackle your ankle.” His face flushed bright red. He turned on the heel of his spit-shined boot and stalked away.

Poor man. If he’s going to wander around in public while his brain is absent without leave, he really should grow a sense of humor.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. People don’t think I’m funny either.

    I stopped at a convenience store on the way home last night for a loaf of bread. One brand had a sticker on it that said, Try Me. I took a loaf, walked up to the cashier and said, See how well I listen? He said, Huh?

    Never mind.

  2. haha, both at the story and at Kat’s response, “if the air force had wanted him to have a sense of humor they would have issued him one.” How true, and clever…..

    Big man, big ego…haha

  3. I bet he was embarrassed but he should have apologized anyway even if he does not have a sense of humor. My guess is he is probably laughing about it now but his humorous reaction was delayed…sort of like when you wish you had a good retort for someone who is being rude but think of it when it is way too late.


  4. You guys got it all wrong. The whole air force thing is a cover up. At home he dresses up in drag and the purse DID match his outfit. That’s why he was stealing it. The reason he got so red in the face and flustered was because he got caught stealing.

  5. The depth of shine on a boot usually bears an inverse relationship to the depth of shine on the brain, I have found. Yer man must have had very very shiny boots!

  6. Kat – if I gave prizes for the best comment of the day, you’d win.

    Nessa — butterflies aren’t supposed to be funny, they’re supposed to be beautiful!

    Nea — I agree.

    Lori — that’s what I thought.

    Melli — if people died of embarassment there would have been a very loud crash when that dude fell over.

    Betty — paraphasing Kat, apparently the airman wasn’t issued manners, either.

    Rob — I am a walking hazard. I developed a sense of humor in self-defense.

    Tom — If your theory is true, it is good I wasn’t wearing the shoes that match that purse. He might have stolen them to wear on his little toes.

    Kat — Oh! Good idea!. Let’s all meet at the supermarket next Friday afternoon!

  7. Charlie! I missed your post while I was posting. You are absolutely right — the guy’s boots were dazzling. I wasn’t aware they used the sparkle from their brains to do that. Glad my shoes are dull.

  8. Yeah, some people have no sense of humor, and things go right over their heads. I identify with goldennib – am always making some remark, and being stared at like “HUH?”. The younger the listener, the more confused they appear. Scott use to hate going places with me…if I was taking him thru a fast food place and the gal/guy in the window would tell me to pull ahead to the next window, I would quietly say “No”. It totally confused the little worker – and totally embarrassed Scott.

  9. Jackie — You posted this at 8:58 a.m., and blogger gave it to me at 2:00 p.m.. I sure am glad it wasn’t a life altering message or a pleas for help.

    Since we’re sisters and you did have some influence on me as I grew up, I imagine you are not at all surprised to hear I do the same type things.

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