The other day I went to the grocery store.Â All this time I have been under the impression that the grocery store was the place one went to do grocery shopping.Â Apparently that is no longer so.Â Now the thing to do is go to the grocery store, push around an empty cartÂ and stand in the way of as many people as possible while talking on your cell phone.
How did people manage to cook dinner in the days before cell phones made intense four and five party calls possible so everyone could provide their preferences and opinions on what’s to eat?Â I am all for bringing back the days of, “eat what I cooked or go hungry.”
Go out and talk on your cell phone while driving your car.Â Just get the flip out of my way in the grocery store!
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Speaking of cell phones — I called T-Mobile the other day with a question about my bill.Â As long as I had the rep on the line, I asked her how my contract would be effected if I wanted to move somewhere else — like say, Hawaii — and wanted to change my phone number.Â She said the good news was that T-Mobile did provide service in Hawaii, and I could keep my current contract and plan.Â The bad news, however, is that since I would no longer be in the the United States, I would have to buy a different sim card.
So, when did Hawaii secede from the Union?Â And how did I miss that bit of news?
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And you’d think in these days when most drive-thru employees carry bachelor’s degrees in Fine and Performing Arts or Philosophy, that they’d have enough sense to hand their customer the biggie soda first, and the ice cream cone second.Â Nope.Â They pass you the cone, which obviously can’t be put down, then extend the diet-soda which cannot possibly be grasped by only one small hand.Â Hello?Â Soda first.Â That I can put down.
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And last but not least is my drunk neighbor — the one I take shopping every week, not the one who plays the same record for days on end.Â The drunk I take shopping is in her mid-sixties and does not have a car.Â Out of the kindness of my heart I take her grocery shopping with me on Saturdays.Â I’ve never asked for, nor do I expect, payment;Â however a little courtesy woudn’t be amiss.Â (Come to think of it, a little courtesy is what I get — very little.)
Saturday, as she stepped into my car, she started complaining about the fact that I wouldn’t be coming the following Saturday, and how much time she spent on her grocery list and how she most certainly hoped she wouldn’t run out of anything important before the two whole weeks passed and I once again had time for her.
I sat there for a moment in silence before I started the car.Â Not long enough for her to add more, but longer than would have been expected of a casual reply, then I said, “You know, just because I’m not taking you doesn’t mean they won’t let you in the store.”
Wisely, she changed the subject, but not for long.Â When we got to the store — Wal-Mart, the only place she will shop so I go there specifically for her — I turn toward the produce isle.Â She says,Â “I don’t need any produce.Â We’re going to skip this part.”Â I told her that I did need produce, and I proceeded to shop for it.Â Several times she whined, “I don’t need anything from this isle.”Â I ignored her.
Next I moved to the meat counter.Â She said, “I bought plenty of meat last week.Â I don’t need anything here.”Â I told her I did, and picked up a package of chicken.Â We both always shop every week.Â We don’t always need things from the same part of the store.Â I don’t whine when she drags me out to the garden center, even though I don’t own my yard so I don’t buy plants for it.Â She snapped, “Just how much shopping do you have to do?”
Again I paused and stared at her for several seconds before responding.Â “You know,” I said, “You are free to shop whatever aisle you please.Â There’s no need to follow me around.”
“Well,” she said, huffy, “if we separate, how will you know when I’m ready to leave?”
I smiled.Â “You wouldn’t really have to worry about that since the bus comes by every fifteen minutes.”
After that she was quite patient while I shopped — and she didn’t drag me out to the garden center.