"Farscape?" he asks. Just like that. One word, a question by itself.
There must be a deal of bewilderment on my face, because he quickly asks another question.
And, just as rapidfire, a third.
When I manage to splutter that I have no idea what he's talking about, he says: "You don't watch much TV, do you?"
I confess that I don't, that I don't even possess a TV.
"Ah. Those are all TV shows, you know. I saw you and thought, 'He's a Farscaper!'"
The woman behind the counter, listening to us, asks: "But why?
"Well, it's always worth asking," says the young man. "Besides, it's those glasses!" (Mine). "I saw them and thought, 'Geek!' Geeks love those shows."
Then he turns to me.
"But you're not a geek. And I mean that as a compliment."
That cheerful young man was Monty West, all of 14. And as I turned to gather my things, he had this:
"But Stargate, that show really rocks! You have to see it."
OK, I say, I'll check it out.
"Yeah. You do that," says Monty. Then a pause, a chuckle, and: "Monty West suggests!"
Before I left, I fired one back.
Are you a secondlifer, I ask.
"What's that?" Monty looks as bewildered as I must have.
Got you, I say. But anyway, secondlife.com? Not that I'm on there, but you've not heard of it?
"Oh right," says Monty. "But my mother doesn't let me use the internet much."
And that incident reminded me of a wedding I went to, many years ago.
At dinner, one of the bride's friends, a pretty young woman with long curly hair, was across the table from me. We had been introduced, but had not said much to each other since.
Out of the blue, she leaned across and said: "February, right?"
I must have looked bewildered, much like with Monty. She went on: "Or late January?"
Still bewildered. So she said: "Just say yes or no, that's all."
Yes, I said. (I have a birthday in either late January or February).
She gave a whoop of delight and turned to the groom, pumping her fist. Turned out that she prided herself on her ability to guess people's zodiac signs. So she had made a bet with the groom that she would divine mine before dinner was done.
I had no snappy comeback.