Dear Deli Counter Squad,

Do you know that feeling sometimes when you do or say something and it's like time stops while you wait for a response, reaction, or consequence?

Like if you shoot your shot with someone new -- not even a romantic or wannabe naked time interest, even just in a friendly way -- and smile and say, "Hello," or smile and hold a door open for someone, there's that split second where time stands still until you get a response?

That's exactly what happened on my end while I sashayed up to the deli counter while the three of you were working and waiting on that one older gentleman.

Gemma Chua-Tran / Thanos Pal
Gemma Chua-Tran / Thanos Pal

Because, spoiler, when a couple of you were looking my way and shouted out, "Oh my God, I'm so glad you're here!" -- I knew you weren't talking to me because your gaze was looking past me. And that's why I just smiled and stayed silent.

(It also probably had to do with the PTSD from years of assuming someone tossing out a compliment in my direction was talking to me, then feeling the awkward sting of a hypothetical kick to the junk when I realize it wasn't meant for me and I responded like an absolute tool.)

But I digress.

When the one of you wearing the pink hat, though, followed up with "Oh my God, I love you!" -- I just couldn't help myself. Because I'm not someone who takes life seriously and even if I'm doing something I despise like food shopping (I'm sorry, but it's absolutely annoying busy work to me), I'll still try to have fun and make the best of it.

Sarcasm also happens to be my second language. Which is why without even thinking, I smiled, winked, and shouted back, "Oh my God, no, I love you more!"

Benjamin Ashton
Benjamin Ashton

And that's when the split second of time stopping that I mentioned above happened. Because for that split second, the three of you just stood there in utter silence, and I felt that familiar feeling of embarrassment start to creep in and the voice in my head start to talk all the trash to myself because I just couldn't stay quiet.

But then that split second ended and all three of you started smiling ear to ear. Then the laughter started. Then I couldn't tell where the woman wearing the pink hat's head started and face ended because she turned about as pink as her hat.

And quite honestly, that's when you created a monster and I just kept firing sarcastic one-liner after sarcastic one-liner, because even if you didn't think anything I said was actually funny, you responded with laughter and you went with it. And it became infectious because even the gentleman you were waiting on got in on it.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Look. We all know there's a lot of stupid in the world. And a lot of chaos. And a lot of drama. And I don't just mean the Scandoval from Vanderpump Rules or the fact Grey's Anatomy won't stop getting renewed.

But despite all that, when a dude that looks like a genuine short fluffy little ginger-bearded Leprechaun hurled a sarcastic line your way, you had two choices. You could've gone with it and had some fun, or you could've made him look and feel like an absolute idiot that would pray for a heart attack to strike him dead on the spot from embarrassment.

But you went with it and for three minutes, anyone within earshot of the deli at the Shaw's in Brunswick was laughing. Smiling. Having fun. Enjoying life. And sometimes it'd be nice if it could just be that simple.

But since it's not -- thank you, Deli Counter Squad, for the brief but enjoyable escape from reality. The world could use more humans like you.

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