Thursday, December 01, 2005

How To Lose A Year of Your Life Without Trying

Soaking wet from loading the car at Costco during torrential rains, I ventured to Longs to pick up some sodas for the Vigil Reception. I breezed through easily enough and managed to get through a quick, relatively painless shopping experience at Trader Joe's when I realized that I had forgotten to buy candles for the altar. Balls! So I made my way back to Longs.

Upon entering the store, I almost slipped on a puddle of water. Thank goodness for a display of scarves and hats that managed to steady me, when, in a panic, I reached out for them to steady myself. This should have been my first clue that things were going downhill. . .I found the candles painlessly enough and grabbed my purchase and headed to the register at the back of the store. Little did I know that I had walked into the Vortex of Hell.

A woman was squatting off to the side of the line that had formed at the register. I hesitated behind her and she said, "Go ahead of me." Thinking myself lucky, I placed my three candles and handy lighter on the conveyer. The cashier had rang up the first guy's items when he announced she had overcharged him for the Arm & Hammer kitty litter. She took her time flipping through the ad booklet and then leisurely called out a price check for Arm & Hammer detergent. Great! Not only does this cashier have no concept of time or any awareness of the long line forming at her register, she can't read.

Guy 1 goes off to the side to fill out return information, awaiting his price check, as she moves onto Guy 2. Guy 2 is the epitome of the Santa Cruz Earthy Man. He's got the outfit and the attitude. He clearly has nothing else to do with his day other than stand in line and make jokes in a breezy, carefree manner. While making light of the situation, he distracted himself to the point of hitting "no" on the ATM machine, thus voiding all his data entry. "Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha,"he chuckles. Yeah, Santa Cruz Earthy Man go on and laugh. He was high on life. In Santa Cruz "life" can often mean "weed." I wish someone would pass the joint to me. Escapism take me away!

The squatting girl had, during all of this, stood up and laid out three different items with a bunch of crumpled receipts. I said a little prayer of thanks that she had let me go ahead of her. I don't think I could have handled it if I had to endure a return on top of all of this. The cashier helps Guy 1 and gives him his THREE DOLLARS back on his kitty litter and he leaves a happy, rich man thinking to himself, "Yippee! Now I can go get that Eggnog Latte!"

I looked at the guy ahead of me. He had a six pack of IPA. That was it. His phone rang and I could hear a woman on the other end. Apparently someone was anxious for her beer. Some people might call her an alcoholic but I ventured to think she was having a hard day and needed a reprieve in the form of a brewsky. At that point, I was past anger. It was 2:45 pm and I hadn't eaten since 8am. I had been running myself ragged the past 3 days in preparation for World AIDS Day. I had been out shopping for two hours in the rain, smelling of wet wool and what had been a good hair day had turned very, very bad.

All that was left to me was laughter. I started to laugh, somewhat maniacally, I'll admit. I couldn't help it. The beer guy turned and laughed with me. The absurdity of the situation was contagious I guess. It was then that I said, "I think I am gonna need one of your beers." He laughed some more but I was 90% serious. I felt like I would be trapped in Longs Hell for the rest of my life, surrounded by oblivious cahiers chewing gum like cows and irritated customers desperate to buy a hair brush, a bottle of Absolut and pack of Starburst to make their life complete.

I am still recovering.


Mrs. Ca said...

There is a check out woman at the store close to my house, and every time I get in her line it is like this. You'd think I'd learn. But, she's funny and if I'm not in a hurry I go for the amusement. She's about 60 wears about that many pounds of makeup and has impossibly big hair.

Also, every time I go in on Saturday morning I run into the same guy buying 2 packs of cigarettes a bottle of Jack Daniels and a 2-liter of RC Cola.

Gotta love it.

alissa said...

Oooo... I can feel for you! I'm so proud of you for raising such awareness for AIDS though.

Hopefully you can regroup and have that beer (or 6) this weekend.

Amanda said...

That does stink...especially when you are hungry. I'm sure you handled yourself beautifully. :) Have a good weekend

Jenny said...

i think your blog is having a font size problem.

OH and i think i know that guy who pressed -NO- on he ATM machine. do you think he owns a van that says "Nick of Time"?


Sizzle said...

yesterdays font got stuck in small but todays font looks back to normal. i'm only a blogger on the side so glitches will happen. ;)

i can't believe you went there with the nick of time reference. like i woulda stayed in line if he was there!? hee hee.

:) sizz

Jenny said...

wait did Mrs. Ca say what i think she said:

"Also, every time I go in on Saturday morning I run into the same guy buying 2 packs of cigarettes a bottle of Jack Daniels and a 2-liter of RC Cola."

Saturday morning Jack Daniels? Woah party-on Sister!

Melissa said...

My head would have exploded if that were me and my voodoo wish list would have expanded.

sue said...

Patience of a saint. I swear.

ocg said...

I would have been losing it... and by losing it I mean I would have rolled my eyes, shifted my weight from hip to hip and sighed VERY heavily... that's right... it can be *very* intimidating for those around...

gorillabuns said...

sometimes laughing hysterically actually gets you to the front of the line or at the very least it makes all the crazy's wondering if you are the crazy one.

mango said...

Alcohol is always the answer.


Nihilistic said...

At least it was a fit of laughter and not crying! Or worse violent throwing of gum and candy bars! Ok, I would have paid to see the throwing of candy bars!

Bill said...

On a note related to your picture and not your post ... for over 20 years I have used nothing but a pocket watch and refuse to wear wrist watches.

God loves a pocket watch!!! Wrist watches are for barbarians.

Please excuse the interruption but it needed saying. (In my part of the world there are no stores named Longs. Based on your post ... yippee!)