Thursday, May 01, 2003

I’m going to give everybody a break from my usual anti-female tirades and talk about grocery shopping.

Disaster at the IGA last night. I lost a loonie in a shopping cart because the cart wrangler had already locked the carts in their pen for the night. There were no other carts for my cart to mate with, thus the loonie-releasing mechanism couldn’t function. The belter eventually persuaded me to accept the situation and come home with her.

Enjoy your tip, cart wrangler.

The whole grocery store seethed with frustration last night. Our cashier buddy Aron had reached the end of his shift and the end of his tether. I received a lesson on how to place a dividing bar on the conveyor belt to separate my stuff from the stuff belonging to the person ahead of me. What he didn’t know is that I have issues with divider bars. I don’t use them. To me, they’re a symbol of urban paranoia and alienation. When someone slams one down between my groceries and theirs, I take it almost as an assault on my competence and good character. The gesture says “Get away from me and my stuff, which I haven’t actually paid for, but which I consider mine. What are you trying to pull, anyway?” Whereas I’ve taken care to place my stuff eight to ten inches away from theirs, I’m following it along the conveyor belt, I’m making sure that my fig newtons don’t get charged to someone else’s bill, and I’ll speak up if the cashier goes to scan the wrong item. I’m aware of what’s going on, and I’m in control of the situation.

I’m trying to apply a little cognizance and trust to what I do out in the world, but I shouldn’t expect anyone to understand that. What people understand are grimy plastic dividers separating their food as it glides towards the cashier.

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