I go downstairs and cut off a hunk of stale beer bread with cheeze so I won't deflate into a shrunken nothingness and fall into the gutter on my way to the grocery store. I'd hate for someone to find me lying there the next day dirty and wet like one of those discarded gloves that seem to grow from roadside gravel.
There's rain, there's splashing cars and wet pant’s cuffs, but hey, I get there and perogies are on sale 2 for 1 so it's all worth it. Mmmm perogies.
It's often said that you should never shop for groceries when you're hungry. Normally the old adage rings true. But there's another adage that says Man cannot live on bread alone, and a bit of bread was all I was running on. I was in no danger of buying too many groceries. Even if I could fit them all into my shared fridge (that's another story), my hunger had rendered me desperate far and beyond the point of caring about what old wives say. I got what groceries I needed and geared up to get out.
Everybody has a mundane superpower. Mine is the ability to get drinks quick at any bar regardless of how crowded the bar is. For me the gaps in the gabbering girls and guys in tight shirts open like magic (that sounds spurious but I'm sticking with it. The magic works at concerts too). At the time I realized this I was giddy with power. It was only slowly that I came to also realize that every superpower, even the mundane ones, comes with a price.
If with great power comes great responsibility, then with minor power comes, well, minor annoyances. I'm superman at the bar. Give me all your liquor money, citizen, and stand back. But never, ever, pick the same line as me at the supermarket.
I go to the line with only one man with one basket. He's wearing a cap and a grubby jacket, grubby jeans. He's a grubby guy. When I moved downtown I was concerned I wouldn't have any fun at the supermarket anymore because I wasn't haunting the aisles at 2 AM. Fortunately, it turns out I don't have to worry.
The grubby guy put his basket on the conveyer, and as it moved forward towards the cashier he'd slide it back towards me. Two times he does this. The cashier rings the grubby purchases through, the grubby basket is conveyed towards the front, the grubby guy pushes it towards the back. I can't put my own purchases down because I'm feeling the barrier of politeness; his basket is there. My own is getting heavy.
Finally the cashier, seeing the traveling basket is empty, stashes it behind the counter, sliding the bar to separate the groceries down my way. I began putting my groceries onto the counter. The grubby man, having lost his grubby basket that was acting as a buffer, begins picking up my groceries and placing them at the back of the conveyer.
I stop. I don't like anybody touching my groceries. That's taboo. A taboo I heartily endorse. Although it seems a dotted line that gets broken fairly often (ask me about the old man who purposefully squished my cake). Mostly I'm shocked this guy is picking up my groceries and moving them as if he has some sort of demilitarized zone lined out near the front of the conveyer that my food is violating.
The conveyer, of course, works on a sensor. An item places on the conveyer will move up until another sensor stops it. It's not going to stop while there's items on the belt. Seeing the guy was obviously not going to stop, the cashier halts the belt. This time when the grubby guy manhandles my groceries, they stay where he wants. Neither I nor the cashier are impressed by this grubby man's attempt at perpetual motion.
The worst is over, I think. Problem solved. Our hero may return home happy with his spicy pizza.
The grubby man whips out his pen and a cheque. I look up at his tally on the blue screen. Twenty-three dollars worth of cat food, wieners, and crystal lite. It's like an odd kind of poetry seeing the same items repeated on the supermarket screens.
Crystal Lite - 250g - 99c
Crystal Lite - 250g - 99c
Yes, a glimpse into my world.
The cashier can't cash the cheque for the grubby man. She doesn't have the authority. She has to go check in with her supervisor in regards to the cheque. She leaves.
The grubby man seems nervous. He steps five feet away from where I am and begins pacing, pacing, his hands behind his back, pacing. It's over five minutes the cashier is gone verifying the veracity of the legal paper exchange and he paces all the while. Pacing.
When the cashier comes back she brings with her a sympathetic look for me as if to say sorry. Me with my meager groceries spread out on the conveyer belt, excluding the demilitarized zone near the front. Waiting. I don't look at her, though I saw. In truth, I don't mind. I've been in my room all day writing damnable dull query letters. Compared to that a good jab with a sharp stick would be preferable. I'm actually kind of amused. I'm already seeing the words 'I'm ravenously hungry. I've been writing a query letter for six hours' in my head.
She asks the grubby man for more pieces of identification, which he promptly whips out. Identifying himself is probably his mundane super power. Probably a pretty useful one seeing how grubby he is. The cashier shoots me another sympathetic look, having not caught my eye yet, and leaves again.
This time, instead of pacing, the grubby man begins to study my purchases. He never looks at me. Never once does he acknowledge that I exist. He's as leisurely as if he's pawing through the apple bin, leaving grubby bits over every Granny Red that he touches. He picks up my tuna and reads the label. It doesn't captivate him so he picks up my green bananas. They are very green. Green doesn't meet up with his measure. He puts them down and returns to his pacing, pacing.
Five minutes more goes by and the cashier returns. The grubby man's project of twenty three dollars has been approved. Proud new owner of twenty three dollars worth of cat food, crystal lite, and wieners, the grubby man picks up his bags and goes. Real life continues.
My own purchases had no duplicates, no poetry. Green bananas, spicy chicken pizza, tomato ... just doesn't have the same ring.
On the way home it was still raining. All the pretty girls had their hoods up and their pretty eyes shone out of dark cloth tunnels.
Who am I kidding? Pretty girls don't walk, especially in the rain. Who knows what monstrosities were hiding inside the mouths of those hoods?
Oh wait. I did have a duplicate.
2 for 1.
So worth it.