1.03.2008

Going nowhere with this, but hey, Happy New Year by the way

Have you ever been in line at the grocery store and, two customers up, there is a price dispute at the register? And then the already slow cashier pages an even slower store employee who meanders over, takes the item in question and then disappears on a molasses-paced quest to find the aisle with identical products, check the price and eventually find his way back to the register?

And you’re standing there, holding a case of bottled water and a box of cereal, telling yourself to just be patient, you have plenty of time, no big deal, breathe in, breathe out… and then you discover that the entire price check revolves around a 60-cent discrepancy? That you and the person in front of you have been waiting for a day and a half because the woman (who of course doesn’t even have her checkbook out in preparation to pay and move right along) (CHECKBOOK? Come on, people, are you really still paying with checks?) doesn’t want to pay 60 cents more than she has to for her stupid olive oil?

Meanwhile, your right bicep is crying and if only you could put the case of water down just for a second but there is nowhere to set it and oh no it’s starting to slip and boy, how embarrassing would it be to just drop everything and knock over the magazine display and hey, the elderly co-waiting person in front of you is in an electric wheelchair for god’s sake so really you with your able-bodied-though-precarious grip on the case of water? You don’t have it so bad.

But at least she gets to sit while she waits.

Yep, gonna get struck down for that one.

And then you take another deep breath and come to the zen realization that so what, so we wait. It’s fine. It’s a good chance to take a moment and fully appreciate the freedom that comes with being self-employed and not having the limited timeframe of a short break from the office in which to run your errands.

But good god, woman, I will GIVE you the 60 cents, nah, make it an even dollar, if you will just write your check (CHECK!) and move on already.

In a conversation on Sunday, as Monk and I sped along in the rental car that would take us from the St. Louis airport to Columbia, MO for a quick New Year’s visit, I declared Monk to be a Fun Vampire. There are many times I’ve witnessed him, instead of simply enjoying a moment or an event, feeling compelled to analyze it, break it down, and spread it over everyone’s lap- lugubrious details and theories pieced together in one un-fun, not-so-magical-anymore, nerd quilt. “It is your superpower- the ability to suck the fun out of ANYTHING!” I exclaimed. After giggling for a bit we decided that my superpower must be the ability to tear someone apart little by little, break them down verbally, and somehow make them laugh throughout the assault.

But today I was reminded that I have yet another, even less impressive superpower: The ability to (always) choose the wrong line at the store- price checks, lost wallets, impossible-to-locate packs of cigarettes, unreadable credit cards, the Slowest Woman in the World (and yes, I believe I met her yesterday in line at Wal-Mart and was tempted to ask for her autograph but was afraid I’d be there all night)… Whoever the bane of the checkout line’s existence is on any given day, I will somehow find that person and get in line behind them.

I mean, damn. 60 cents.

(And don't worry about me and the Fun Vampire- he sets his superpower aside quite frequently and we had a truly 3-F New Year's in Missouri- festive, fun and FREEZING.)

Happy New Year!

2 comment:

Anonymous skyhawk said...

I have often fantasized about doing exactly what you describe. I came close, once -- had the dollar bill wadded up in my hand and everything -- but chickened out. I know I'll have the chance to do it again, though, especially here in Nimrod Motherland.

Glad to hear you had a good NY!

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sympathize deeply with your plight. I have for years believed that I am one of the few people in the world who has the uncanny knack of picking the slowest line in any situation. Even if I move to another line that is moving faster than my old line, my plan backfires with a price check, or price discprency, or one of the many excuses used by feeble minded, penny pinching idiots. I have now become resigned to my fate..to wait in the slowest line. Which brings me to the next item, the price discrepency. Can't the person see that he/she is holding up the entire line? Just pay the few cents or a dollar more so everyone else can move on with their lives!!!! On one occassion I offered to pay the disputed amount only to have the woman launch into a tirade about how I should mind my own buisness, and how she was getting ripped off by the store, etc...Try to do something nice for someone and this is what happens?

9:09 AM  

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