Saturday, December 10, 2016

Clean-Up in Aisle Four

In my house when we go shopping, grocery or otherwise, my job primarily is to stay out of the way and not get lost. I usually go one-for-two on our expeditions. Against all odds and others' beliefs, I see myself as a great grocery shopper but I only have two speeds. I either have a specific item, or items, that I gather up quickly usually in a cart even if a basket would do or I'm a happy wanderer ambling up and down the aisles looking at things in real life I would never buy.

What's your pleasure? Oooh, size forty-four triple-E jump boots are on sale this week with a coupon and my shopper's card! And they have scampi or maybe scallops in the fifty-five-gallon drum size on special offer. Don't worry; I never take these treasures home, but I do usually stand to the side and watch who does because I'm a good neighbor that way and I like to keep track of where all these folks are in relation to me and mine.

I wasn't much of a neighbor I have to confess the other day at a grocery store I don't usually frequent. And don't get me wrong; I very much like the store as it has a huge variety of offerings I never see anywhere else. I will admit to being more than a little afraid of most of the customers and so in the spirit of a good defense I tend to be somewhat proactive if not actually downright obnoxious so we can all be afraid of one another together.

As I was entering the store pushing a shopping cart, I was immediately caught up in a traffic jam caused by, imagine my surprise, an Obliviot. She was a woman of about my age, I'm guessing, sort of pushing her own cart (actually nudging it with her hip) while trying to hoist large three-liter bottles of soda into her shopping cart all while speaking on her cell phone. She had no idea that there were any other life forms in her sector; you know the type.

I would have admired her ability to multi-task had she actually demonstrated any. The shopping cart kept sliding right back into the store entrance because instead of lifting the bottles over and into the basket she was hitting it with the soda grasped by one hand still clutching the phone to her ear all the while telling someone, somewhere, 'I have to go. I'm in the store.' But only one of those statements was true.

The three-liter bottles of soda, or anything of that size, are only a great idea in principle in my opinion. They're sort of like those warehouse club packages of breakfast cereal that sleep six. Paying for stuff by the metric butt-ton or whatever computation is used makes these things seem like a big bargain, except by the time you get halfway through these massive sizes, the fizz is all gone from the soda and the crispy crunch in the cereal is now more like Shields and Yarnell.

Meanwhile the jabberwocky continued talking on her phone and not getting a thing into the shopping cart and we're starting to back up all the way to the front doors that are designed to slide silently open as you walk in. And still, she continued-I admire that kind of persistence when it's exhibited on another planet or a dimension I'm not sharing.

I could feel the gorge rising, and unlike the Aurora, Sandy, there were no stoner faces or warm July nights. She and I made eye contact, and I flashed my deceitful smile offering to help her by holding out my hand gesturing she should give me her phone. It's the same smile the cowboys offered the Plains Indians just before they grabbed their land (or that the President-Elect has just before he gr--, well never mind the politics). If it helps the purists I had a chap stick in my jacket pocket since my riding the range days are behind me and I wear real pants now.

"Here," I said, "let me have your phone so you can put those bottles in your cart." (What kind of person buys multiple three-liter bottles of diet 7-up with cherry? Someone, obviously who doesn't want her holiday guests to stay very long.) She smiled and handed over the phone and had already turned away to grab more bottles when I said loudly in the general direction of the device, "she'll have to call you back. Goodbye."

I believe I turned the phone off rather than just disconnected the call. I was sorry I didn't know enough about the phone (some kind of an android judging from the icons on the face of it) to have popped out the battery and flung it into the lobster display case in the fish department at the far back end of the store (which may be why it always smells like someone failed at Finding Nemo when I go there.)

"You just hung up on my daughter!" she exclaimed. Why yes I did I agreed and stepped around her on my way to the hand crocheted scones and other woolen baked goods I had no intention of buying. And you're welcome, I offered over my shoulder as I went on my merry way. Just a few more days left of the most wonderful time of the year.
-bill Kenny

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