November 15, 2009

Crabby Samaritan

I don't know what it is with me and people this weekend, but I'm not even going to step outside the house again until tomorrow morning. This morning I was at the bad grocery store with good vegetables because I either like grocery shopping more than I thought, or I never make up lists and depend upon my steel trap mind, which nowadays is more like a cardboard trap and I invariably forget 10 things that I can't live without.

I picked up my stuff and moved into the checkout line. There was some guy in front of me who obviously hadn't seen the "Express - 10 Items or Less" sign flashing like a beacon and had his weekly allotment of groceries spread out for 10 feet on the belt.

But I didn't really care, because I wasn't in a particular hurry. After about a half minute, I became aware of someone standing extremely close to my back. In fact, they were brushing me. So I turned around to make sure it wasn't a pick-pocket, and there stood an elderly lady clutching a loaf of french bread. I turned around and inched forward as far as I could to put some space between us, but she just crept up close to me again.

And then she tapped me on the arm and said "Excuse me, I only have one item and my son is waiting for me in the car out front". Well, shit. I only had 4 items, but if she was so antsy to pay for her crusty loaf and get to the car before her son started beating her, well, why not? So I told her to go ahead.

The cashier rang up her purchase ... and then she pulled the checkbook out of her purse.

Motherfucker. But I still didn't say anything. I didn't even change my expression. The cashier took the check, and then asked for a drivers license or some other form of ID, as is standard. And, of course, the old lady didn't have a drivers license, or "other".

Stalemate. The natives behind me were starting to get restless, and so was I, so I asked the cashier how much the bread cost. It was $2.75, so I whipped out my wallet, threw 3 dollars on the belt, and said that I would pay for it. The old lady looked at me and said "you don't have to do that", to which I replied "it's not a problem". Which was actually pretty good for me, because any other time I probably would have added "because I'd like to get home some time today". So, to all of the people out there who know me, this will prove that I do have some capacity for empathy.

After this grand show of graciousness on my part, I waited for my thank you, but the old bat skittered off with her bread ... without a word. I looked after her, turned back to the cashier and mouthed soundlessly ...


1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh! I have been so wrapped up in my life lately that I almost missed this. This is one of the best posts I have ever read.

    First off... I've worked retail and let me tell you... only old people write checks. And they write them very s l o w l y. It used to drive me nuts.

    Secondly... I DO know you and I can only imagine the eye rolling you must have been doing. I'm just wondering why you didn't go out to the parking lot and demand a thank you!

    Thank you once again for making me laugh!

    You're the best!