I have a bruise on my arm that makes it look like I’ve been hanging with Rihanna’s boyfriend. It’s in the top three bruises of my life–and I once fell off a six-foot drum major’s podium, a story for another day.
I got the bruise because I was in the store buying groceries and walked into the corner of a shelf. Not bumped, not brushed. Walked dead into. I am that spaced out in the store. It’s a long-standing issue. When I enter any store, I go into a special shopping fog, as if I’m just doing some errands after my out-patient lobotomy. I’ve tried various things to get me out of the funk: chewing gum, flexing butt muscles with every step to try to get a marketplace workout, and so on. It doesn’t work. I’m just that zombie shopper.
So on this particular trip the fog was especially thick. I knocked some pears off the pile in the produce section, which irritated me. Who decided that piling fruit like a Jenga puzzle was the way to go? We need big lips on the counters and then the fruit should be placed in what amounts to an inverted pyramid, okay?
Because I have essentially no peripheral vision when I’m in my foggy state, I assumed nobody saw my produce party foul and I put them back. But, you know, toward the back so that they’d be too ripe by the time anyone got to them anyway.
Next I pick up my requisite 14 gallons of milk since Sally apparently NEEDS to drink two gallons per day. But there’s a man there pondering the milk. So we do “the dance.” You know what I’m talking about–it usually happens in the aisles with the three dozen types of diced tomatoes or greeting cards. You look longer than you need to at the selection in front of you because you’re waiting for the other person to finish looking at their stuff. Then somehow there is a silent, pheromone cue that tells you both to doh-see-doh and switch places. That’s fine, it’s all part of the store experience, but in this case all I could think was, DUDE, it’s MILK. There are exactly four options. Pick up your nonfat and go home. Are you one of those guys who never shops or pays attention to what his wife does and then when she gets the flu from exhaustion and begs you to pick up the essentials you’re surprised to find that they have nifty barcodes for everything now?! PICK A MILK!
Sometimes I overreact.
So finally, in a huff, I excuse myself and reach right in front of him for my milk (for all I know the poor man is still there today) and blast down the next aisle–in a hurry now because I’m getting tired of the idiocy that is the World–and nearly mow down a pedestrian at the intersection of Aisle 3 and Checkout Lane. If I hadn’t been in my hurried yet druggy state, I would have slowed at the intersection, as obviously the folks on Checkout Lane have the right of way. I accepted the icicle stare she gave me and sheepishly moved on, only to be trapped in Aisle 5 by a family debating the merits of pasta sauce brands with their cart PARKED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE. In moments like these I really have to focus to not become the Incredible Hulkette. Honestly, it’s shopping etiquette 101: If it is necessary for the shopper to stop in an aisle, the shopper shall pull the cart as close to the shelves as possible while taking care not to park directly across from another cart or stand-alone display, as this will eliminate any chance of other shoppers getting through the aisle and MAKE EVERYONE HATE YOU.
But I digress. By the next aisle I’m back in my stuper and soon I’m waiting in line at the checkout. I get the really nice older lady, and she picks up one of the milk jugs only to notice it is spurting milk through a pinhole on its side. She battles the jug, which is really spewing now like nobody’s business, soaking the conveyer belt, the floor, the bagger. The woman in line behind me is saying things like “Oh, heavens!” Another bagger runs to get me new gallon, which takes a while, probably because Milk Bozo was still there staring at the plethora of calcium, and only then does it hit me: I just walked through the store for at least 10 minutes with that milk spraying in a skinny stream onto everything within four feet of my cart.
So, as a mature adult, I paid and then high-tailed it out of there and am avoiding that store for a couple weeks. The run to my car before the store clerks noticed my trail of damage is the most awake I’ve ever been while shopping.