Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Meditations on the Grocery Store.

There's a woman in front of me and I'm annoyed.

She's parked her largely empty cart in the middle of the canned fruit aisle, in front of the peaches and pears, and she's blocking the flow of traffic.

She's older, but not ancient. Her back is hunched a little and she's turning a can of Dole pineapple in her hands as if it's a piece of airblown glass that's thin as vellum. She's reading it and studying it. She's contemplating it, and near as I can tell, she's mystified by it. She's going to be standing in this place, marveling at this can for a very long time, I can tell.

I have one child hanging off my cart, another grudgingly trudging along behind it, and a third in the cart's seat-- his fragile temperament held in check only by the near-continuous movement of the cart through the store.
If I can't resume the motion of this metal vehicle in short order, I'll have a tiny brown-maned nightmare ripping items off shelves, unfastening his belt, and grasping for some form of destructive amusement. Guaranteed.

I raise my voice,

"Excuse me, please!" I announce loudly, but in polite and cheerful tones.

The pineapple connoisseur appears unmoved, unhearing. She's absorbed in her process.

A line of people has formed behind me. They're trying to navigate the aisle, but we're all held up.

She's the accident-gawker, the storm-felled tree spanning the avenue, the time-consuming-hypochondriac-patient-right-before-you at the doctor's office, and she has a profound decision to make: chunks or rings?

There's some dink at the deli counter. He's ordered the honey ham and decided that it isn't what he wants because

"I don't really want it if it's sweet."

What incarnation of honey ham would involve the absence of some degree of sweetness?
What incarnation of douchebag doesn't think about this before ordering a type of meat, the title of which begins with the word "honey"?

I'm walking past the Kodak photo printer. It's plastered with a giant white sign scrawled with large black letters that read: "Printer Does Not Work." A customer in floods and a camp shirt hollers to the god-forsaken employee behind the photo counter,

"Is the printer not working?"

I am tempted to swerve my cart into the shins beneath his unfortunate-length pants.

The woman ahead of me in the checkout line has four thousand coupons, and half of them are expired, but this fact is as shocking and inconceivable to her as the moment she found out JFK had been assassinated.

Out in the parking lot, a 20-something girl has just unloaded the contents of her cart into the backseat of her car, which is next to mine. She gives her empty shopping cart a little shove so that it's out of her royal way and she can pull her vehicle out of the parking spot unimpeded.

I'm about to return my cart to the old corral, so I walk between our vehicles, grab her cart, and pull it along with mine, but not before giving her the "real nice, you lazy little shit" look. She pulls out of her parking space abruptly and goes tearing off.

On my way out of the parking lot, I accidentally cut someone off. I'm reminded that I'm one of the grocery store assholes sometimes, too. It's a little bit crushing to my ego.

At least I'm decisive about my canned fruit.

1 comment:

Chad said...

Lara - you rock. Period!