Last Sunday was a beautiful day. Sandwiched between overcast, cold, windy and rainy days was a day that felt almost like summer. The sky was crystal clear, the sun was shining, kids were outside playing and you could hear lawn mowers echoing throughout suburbia.
Aside from the chill, it could have been a typical summer day.
Ever since I picked up an iPod (more about that later) I’ve been on a podcast binge. I grabbed the thing, stuck the ear “buds” in my head, and took off, on foot, for the grocery store.
This is the story of that trip.
The trip to the store was strangely uneventful. I didn’t just fall of the turnip truck yesterday, though. I knew this was the calm before the storm. Something big was coming my way. Still, I resolved to enjoy the moment, enjoying the walk, the warmth of the sun and listening to TED audio podcasts. I was traveling under the power of my own feet and listening to TED. God, I felt so alive and so enlightened, a true member of the modern “I care about my planet and everyone on it” community!
In the store, I did some quick shopping. This was also uneventful.
Then it was time for checkout. This is the part that really makes my tushy pucker up. Yeah, I’ve done this before.
I’ll do my best, with my limited writing skills, to explain how it all went down. Crime scene photos, if desired, can be obtained from my local police department.
My local neighborhood grocery store is basically a shit dump. It’s pricey yet run down. Most of the employees seem to feel the same way about their jobs that I do about mine. (Like it isn’t the best thing to happen to them all day.) But the store usually isn’t too crowded and you can get in and out with only a modicum of pain.
As I approached the front of the store I saw a bunch of people in Lane 1 even though the light was off. I cruised in that direction and saw the “lane closed” sign was out.
Looking around, I noticed that Lane 4’s light was turned on. “That must be where they want me to go,” I surmised. But when I got to Lane 4 no employee was in sight.
I was conflicted. Should I wait in Lane 4 for an employee who may or may not ever show up? The longer I waited the greater the possibility that new people would get in Lane 1 and I’d be bumped. If that happened I’d become angry and show great magic.
After what felt like an eternity (in grocery store time), I opted to go back to Lane 1 and get at the end of a line for a lane that claimed to be closed. Right after I did that, an employee magically appeared in Lane 4. Remember, based on the “lane closed” signs and the status of the lights, I still believed Lane 4 was where I supposed to go.
The checker on Lane 4 began helping a lady before I could get back there. I got in line behind her.
The checker gestured wildly at me to go away. “This lane is closed,” he hissed.
This is the moment that people tell me I should be more assertive. I felt like saying, “You disgusting maggoty piece of shit motherfucker! Your goddamn light is on and Lane 1’s is off. Fuck you!!!” Instead, like always, I accepted this piece of pure concentrated evil as additional weight on my shoulders and moved on. Head down, I shuffled back to Lane 1.
Fuming now, on the edge of a great storm, I stood in Lane 1 and gave the checker in Lane 4 the stare-down of death. He stared right back. It was game on. I found myself wondering if NASA had yet reviewed my volunteer application for the one-way mission to Mars.
And so, like this, I waited in the long line in Lane 1.
But not too long. As soon as the guy on Lane 4 helped that lady, something interesting happened. The two checkers gave each other a nod and they both simultaneously left their work stations. WTF?
They crisscrossed in front of us. They had just changed lanes.
Suddenly Lane 4 was open for business and before you could say “anal sex” was full of shoppers.
I was standing in Lane 1 which still had the “lane closed” sign out. And indeed, as if it was any surprise, I was directed back to Lane 4 where I assumed my position at the end of the line.
I wish I could say I’m making this up. I’m not. I don’t know why shit like this happens to me. At no point was I pushy. At each step of the way I tried to follow their little rules. Yet I was the one person they singled out to take a massive dump on. It truly boggled my mind.
Finally it was my turn. She asked, “Paper or plastic?” and I handed over my reusable bags. In an extremely unlikely fit of assertiveness, I started a conversation with the checker. “What was that all about? Your lane had a closed sign and the light off and this lane was open with the light on, yet …”
She cut me off. Ah, nothing more refreshing that me-oriented communicators when you are the customer and they are the employee. Isn’t that the best?
“[The other checker] had to run upstairs and we had to switch lanes for a minute.”
Uh huh. Whatever. Thanks for listening, bitch. That wasn’t an apology and it has absolutely nothing to do with what I was trying to ask. Shrug. More evil on my shoulders accepted. Fuck it.
I helped her load my shit into the reusable bags. It was time to go. I picked up the bags and KERPLUNK!
One of the bags had the bottom blow out and my shit was all over the table. This was actually the best part of the whole trip, though. She double-bagged my shit in plastic and I was on my way. It would have been worse if the blowout had occurred half-way home. I quickly said a quiet prayer of thanks for this surprisingly positive development.
The rest of the trip was pretty much uneventful except for one little bit of icing on the cake. I was about five houses away from getting back to my house when I happened to look down. There, scratched out in the sidewalk, was a fucking swastika. Five houses away from my bloody home! One and/or all of my neighbors are fucking assholes.
And some people actually dare to wonder why I don’t like to leave the house. It usually ends up being the worst thing that ever happened to me.
Someday all of the evil I accept from others onto my shoulders is going to reach critical mass. I just hope I’m not there when it happens.
So long as nobody’s RUDE to me (just ignoring me or doing crap that’s “not fair”), I take it as a test of patience, non-judgment and forgiveness.
If somebody’s out-right rude, I get way-pissed; although, I’m not great at confrontation.
Here’s a gem that reminds me of yours. http://madtante.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/breadco-wtf/
It takes a friggin’ lot to push me to the point of confrontation. But I will go there if I have to.
I liked your post and commented on it, too. Thanks!
All, I can say is that I’m SOOOOO sorry.
You sound like my hubs….he keeps his mouth shut and then he has the yearly explosion. It can happen any time any place and they are unpredictable. All I can say is that you don’t want to be around when it happens. It’s somethin’!
I let it out as it happens (which isn’t always a good thing either), but I don’t hit like a meteor!
Your way is better, no doubt.
Now I can’t stop thinking about that goddamn swastika just five houses away. I may decide to host an event to pay for fixing that chunk of the sidewalk.