My friend, Jennifer, used to have a blog, but for various reasons, she deleted it. Because this story is worth a blog entry, I invited her to be my special Guest Columnist. Here is her story:
This morning, I realized that I was out of a few essentials….soymilk, juice, diaper wipes, and hand sanitizer. Yes, when you have 3 young children who touch and lick every germ infested surface, hand sanitizer is an essential.
Around 10am, I packed up my 2 youngest boys, Alex and Ben, and off we went to our local discount market. Bob’s is the kind of place where someone who doesn’t have to budget, wouldn’t be caught dead shopping in. Most of the products are bought at reduced warehouse prices by Bob himself, then shelved and priced drastically below grocery store average. The store itself is clean but fairly disorganized. The aisles are narrow and the shopping carts are rusted leftovers of bankrupt enterprises.
My system is to put Ben in the seat of the cart and have Alex in the basket. Today Alex insisted he walk. To keep him occupied and attentative, I gave him my written list of 4 items to hold. We proceed down the chip aisle to get to the dairy section. Imagine this; The aisle runs along the length of the store and 8 aisles dump out into the chip aisle. It is the only access route to the rest of the store. So in other words, it’s a traffic jam of carts and shoppers.
I am standing near the Cheetos when an elderly woman and her lady friend pull out of the dish rag aisle and stop me dead in my tracks. I am not paying much attention as I am trying to control my 3yr old son. He is weaving and running, lagging behind and dancing. I am calling out to Alex to, “come here NOW,” and waiting for this woman to move her cart. I force a smile and ask her to excuse me. She doesn’t hear. I inch forward alittle. Turn around, yell at Alex again to come here. He comes at the same time she notices me and decides to move herself. Alex dives out of her way. I shoot her a dirty look. I pick him up off the floor. She strikes up a conversation with her lady friend about the the marigolds on sale. I dust my son off and growl. I can’t move forward because her lady friend is in front of me….I cant move backwards because the woman’s cart is jammed up against me. I notice the list is missing and search the floor for it. Alex spots it and jumps behind me to grab it off the floor. Unfortunately the list is right next to the old lady’s cart wheel. She starts to move…Alex reaches down, I yell, STOP! Her reflexes are rather slow and she runs over his fingers…then stops. She turns to me with a nervous smile. A smile? “What the heck?! You ran over his fingers!” She apologizes profusely as I stand there shaking my head and repeating over and over again, “What is wrong with you?” Alex isn’t even upset….in fact, I am not sure he realized what happened. The woman appears as if she is about to cry when I realize what I am saying outloud. I start to cry because I see that she is about to cry. I cry, she cries. Again, she apologizes and her lady friend, who is tearing up also, grabs her arm to support her. I feel like a passive aggressive monster. I try to convince her I was asking myself, “what is wrong with me?” We become a mass of fleshy tears jammed in a 4 foot wide aisle. The only one not crying is Alex because Ben started to cry when I yelled, “STOP!” the first time.
The irritated patrons behind us finally insisted we move along and I avoided the elderly ladies the rest of the shopping trip. On the way to the car, I saw the marigolds for sale on the sidewalk and kicked a pot of them over. It was their fault anyways.