I'm taking a bit of break from editing my soon to be released suspense novel "Lies in Chance" (got you thinking now, don't I) to share with you one of those moments in modern life when you simply want to commit some sort of physical violence.
As many of you know, I do a lot of volunteering, especially at Peaches' parochial school where, it seems, while we have more than 150 children, none of these children have parents. Just mine and a few of the other kids are fortunate enough to have parents. The others, if you look at whose is volunteering, were apparently hatched on the steps of the school and left.
Anyway, since I'm one of those moms who knows her way around the school kitchen, I have, in recent months, been in charge of ordering and picking up decorated cakes for various events. I'm not saying I've picked up a lot of cakes this spring, but today the bakery didn't even need my name when I showed up.
I get my cakes from one of those giant members only food club places. (I won't mention names....let's call it "Ham's Klub.") The bakery is at the back of the store, which is about a mile and a half from where I parked my car at the front of the store. (KRAM, take note...I was not slacking today. I was just getting my steps in elsewhere.)
I picked up the cake, and hauled it to the check out, at the front of the store. If you've been to one of these places you know that a couple of things are absolutely certain:
1) There are never enough cashiers for the number of people checking out.
2) The cashiers that are there are either just coming off of a break, getting ready for a break, or thinking about a break, and therefore are not really in tune with what is actually happening in their line.
3) There are no express lanes and you will, no matter which line you get into, wind up behind the person who is filling every vending machine in the Upper Midwest. And all his items have to be checked one at a time.
I thought I'd gotten lucky, however, because I got behind a woman who only had five things. And the person in front of her was practically done checking out.
So I broke my rule of never getting into a line where a man is the clerk. (Sorry...what's the line from Up in the Air? "I stereotype...it saves time.") Bonus, the gent was a bit older...but I was feeling really, really lucky. After all, I had one item. ONE. This was going to be a breeze.
I got in the line and then I do what all good shoppers do, I looked for that plastic bar that separates my stuff from the stuff in front of me and the stuff behind me. There was only one bar and the guy behind me was holding 6 cases of that five hour energy stuff. Really...six cases. He looked tired, so I put the only plastic bar I could find down behind my cake, which was the only thing I was getting, and we started chatting a bit. (Turns out, the load of energy stuff isn't for him. He's smuggling it to the Wisconsin North woods where a friend of his loves it but doesn't want to pay $3 a bottle.)
Anyway, as the woman in front of me was checking out, I held back my cake so that it wouldnt' get confused with her stuff. She checked out, and it was my turn. I handed the octogenarian my card (and I'm all for active seniors in the workplace, but this gent was not exactly what I would call..."active. " Or...."Alive." Think "Night of the living Dead," and you're a bit closer.)
The gent scanned my cake, set it in my cart and I swiped my card. Game over, right?
Would I be blogging if that were the case?
|Better than a "No Trespassing sign."|
Really...who ignores the plastic bar? I recall a comedian talking about how that plastic bar was THE most powerful thing known to man because it could stop anything....Except, I guess, Captain Spongebath Ancient Pants.
Chatty Dude behind me was strangely silent...like I was going to nicely pay for his contraband.
"Those are not mine." Says I. "Only the cake is mine."
This caused a general raising of heads...Chatty Dude looked up from staring at his feet. General Geriatric looked up from his scanning.
"Really?" Says the doddering darling.
"Really," says I.
Insert great dramatic sigh here. Not mine...the check out guy's. "Well, I have to get a manager to over write this."
I'm thinking, in this day and age, all he would have to do is call said manager with the magic touch to come to his register. But such is not the practice at "Ham's Klub." No, no. Superoldman then left his register in search of the manager. This search took, as you can imagine, a couple minutes because, well, he wasn't exactly hustling.
He returned with manager in tow. She cleared something on the register and then left. She left with such speed I didn't even see her leave. However, she left too soon because Mr. Lord of the Tree Rings stared at his register for another couple of minutes before announcing that he needed to get the manager again to clear something else because he'd rung up "high value" items.
Anyway....this now involved another search for the manager, who, as I mentioned, had taken wing and flown away. So using all the powers he had, Captain Caveman wandered aimlessly for a few more minutes looking for the manager. He found her, brought her back, had her say some magic words or something (at this point I was on the verge of a good old superhero quick change myself. David Banner, anyone?)
After roughly a lifetime...or a good solid 20 minutes, I finally got through the line...of course, I'm moderately positive my debit card got hit for two cakes and roughly 90 gallons of 5 hour energy, but at least I was free.
Until I got to the door and a woman, who I think played golf with Babe Dietrich, had to check me out. (Because you know, once you've gone through the line at these places, the very next thing you're going to do is shoplift a 50 pound bag of bread flour on the way out the door.) Now I shouldn't have had to even slow down for this one...but when the very first Miss America wants to read the inscription on the cake...well, you let her I guess.
So let's review: Pick up a cake. 3 miles of walking, 20 minutes of standing, roughly $100 in debits I'm going to have to clear up with my bank tomorrow, and a "Oh very nice" from the oldest living woman in the world.
Ya know what? I can't WAIT until I'm old and I can irritate the young and the hurried...it's a career goal!