That man, of course, was me.
And she was the security associate at HEB, whose ear gauges were roughly the same size as the pennies I was fumbling with in my pocket.
We had always exchanged knowing glances as I made my six to eight weekly trips to the grocery store across the street from my apartment and I was obtusely aware that she noted my comings and goings.
I’m sure it’s impossible not to give someone a once-over as they pass by, especially since her job is to make sure no one shoplifts, so she has seen me shuttle back and forth — sometimes twice in one day — usually with beer tucked under my arm.
I stepped over to make idle conversation about running out of milk and cookies and happened upon her nametag.
Now she’s no longer anonymous and neither am I.
The inventory she’ll take of my every purchase will grow in detail now that I have stepped out from behind the curtain of anonymity.
We know each other’s secrets now.