It’s a strange thing, being out and running errands during the day, a day with actual sunlight, rather than the fading rays leftover at the end of the day. It has always felt so decadent to me to be out during the day, because invariably, I was supposed to be at the office. Freedom is extra-tasty when it’s stolen; this new way of being, just two days old, feels like I’m on vacation. It’s going to take awhile to sink in, I think.
After hitting the chiropractor for the second time this week (thank you, Universe and left sacroiliac joint, for validating my choice yet again), I hit Home Depot and then stopped at Sunflower for some groceries. It was surprisingly busy during the day, but the shopping population was quite different than I’m used to. Usually my trip to the grocery store happened at 5:45, and the lines were filled with middle-aged people just like me, just trying to pick up a few things on the way home from work, spaced out, tired, maybe a little crabby. At 1:00, it’s mostly older folks, the kind that get repeatedly honked at as they back out into moving traffic in the parking lot, a few people my age, and, evidently, some strange dudes.
I got my stuff and made my way to the checkout, where I pulled my cart in behind an elderly man whose groceries were not moving down the belt. As I looked to see what the hold-up was, I saw that he was struggling with something stuck in his cart; his plastic baggie of bulk prunes had slipped down from the child seat of his cart along the side, and repeated yanking wasn’t getting ‘er done. I asked if I could give him a hand, and we soon had emancipated the uncooperative produce, and the conveyor belt began to move.
I was just about to start putting my stuff upon it when a man walked up behind me with a 40 in each hand, asking me if I’d mind if he went ahead of me. Now, it’s generally my habit to let people with one or two items in hand to go ahead if me if I have a large cart full of stuff, and if I notice, but the fact that he presumed to ask for such consideration instantly made me want to say, “Fuck off, bub.” I don’t know about you, but I like being generous; somebody insisting upon my generosity as yet unoffered pretty much kills any generous impulse I might’ve felt and leaves me feeling cranky.
But I try not to behave from a place of crankiness, regardless of how I feel, so I said, “Go ahead,” because, hey, I’ve got all day (or at least until my guitar lesson). I’m a lady who helps random old men get their prunes out of their cart (this is not a euphemism, by the way); what’s one more good deed? So he passed me as I waited, murmuring his appreciation, and then engaging in more conversation than I strictly needed from a man who was holding on to beer cans for dear life. I put the divider down and started unloading my groceries, and he said, “Oh, my bad…I was going to put that down.” No worries, said I. “Whatcha making?” Nothing in particular, said I. He thanked me again and said that he didn’t want to miss the bus, which is why he was in a hurry. He seemed odd and out of it, and at this point, I was trying to decide whether he was a truly challenged individual, or if he was still drunk from yesterday; it really could’ve gone either way. And life sucks without a car, though I have to wonder why anyone would go through the hassle of taking public transportation just to pick up a couple of (admittedly large) beers. So I didn’t want him to miss the bus, either. Because then I’d probably would’ve had to keep talking to him.