I called home before my last errand to see if anyone had additions to the grocery list. There was high drama in the house. The dog had just eaten the boy’s new toy, the one he had taken the better part of an hour to select with his Target gift card the previous evening. Come home, they said, come home. But I was steadfast in my resolve. You can handle this, people. It is tragic, but not fatal. We need groceries, kickoff is in two hours and I’m bringing all the food. I’ll make it quick. I had already been to the gym, Sears, and Home Depot. I had showered at the gym, but had yet to ingest a drop of coffee and the satiation from my morning banana was wearing off.
I arrived at the grocery store and found easy parking. I grabbed my canvas bags and made my way inside. Something was amiss. There was nary a vacant cart out front. But there was a friendly cart guy, and I got one from him. I walked in and noticed that it was crowded, but I was a woman on a mission so I did not dwell. I started in produce, picked up everything on my list: red apples, grapes, sweet onion, lettuce. I hit the back of the next aisle as I passed the processed foods section and grabbed the last two packages of toxic waste little smokies. So it was not until I came around the bend of my third aisle, seeking refried beans and crushed tomatoes, that I became fully apprised of the situation. The check out line was stretched to a point about halfway down the canned food aisle. Please do not read on until you have paused to visualize this. The checkout line? Where they like to brag that if more than 2 customers are queued up, they’ll open another lane? It was HALF WAY DOWN the canned food aisle! I thought surely this must be some bizarre express lane phenomenon, I had never seen anything like it this. Surely it could not be like that in all the aisles!
This presented two distinct problems. First, the obvious: it is going to take forever. Second, the maddening: it is really, really hard to maneuver your cart around the store when people and carts are blocking all the space! I was so pissed, so chagrined, so irate! The day was half over and turning to crap. I needed to holler at someone butquick.
I looked back to my peaceful, spacious produce area. There were a couple of decidedly calm employees milling about, watering the cucumbers and whatnot. You know how they are always asking “can I help you find something?” or “how are you doing today?” That’s exactly what they were doing!Smiling at me! Wanting to help me! I was floored. Did they not notice that everything was in the shitter? People were waiting in line for ages, bumping into each other and having to move their carts for others to get by! They had to ask other people to hand them things they could not reach! They had to talk to each other, solve problems, be patient! WHY ARE YOU IDIOTS SMILING AT A TIME LIKE THIS? I felt my fingers being pulled into a fist. The force that was driving me to punch the grin right off of the nearest face felt unstoppable. But then the smile said something to me that stopped the freight train dead in his tracks. He said:“isn’t this funny?”
It was funny - not 'ha ha' funny, but funny in that it was so different from what I've grown accustomed to expect from the masses.
And I looked around again. At the strangers talking and laughing in line, trying to move out of one another’s way, handing over what could not be reached, bagging their own groceries, making the best of it.
I tried to summon my rage, to reclaim my righteous indignation and pick a good fight. But it was futile. Remember before Christmas when I wrote about the contagious nature of happiness? Maybe that was only half bullshit. I sighed and finished my shopping. The aisles were blocked, but it wasn’t a big deal. It’s just groceries, right? When I got to the check out line, I grabbed the new People, and a selection of reading materials for my line buddies. It was turning out to be a pretty good day.
Once upon a glass or twelve of wine, Jacquie and Beth and Ellie got to talking. We decided that we were all enormously smart and clever and hilarious, and that it would be a crime not to share our unique talents with the world. We decided to start a blog together.
We needed a name, so Jacquie asked Beth: “What should we call a blog about meand you and Ellie?” And the rest, as they say, is history. We are having a blast writing this thing, and if there was any trepidation that we were only smart and clever and hilarious that night because of all the wine, our words here thus far have succinctly affirmed our mutual self-admiration.
What are you reading?
Ellie - Middlemarch, George Eliot. Finally
Jacquie - The Nightingale, Kristen Hannah
Beth - Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz