I normally try to avoid the big stores for several reasons, with the frequency of experiences like this one ranking high on the list. But the neighborhood grocer where we normally shop has apparently instituted a "stop carrying anything we decide we can't live without" policy, so I'm having to wander further afield for supplies these days.
First, I went to the deli to pick up twelve (12) slices of pre-sliced bacon, typically a 30 second transaction. But before any of that could happen, I watched the single (1)(one)(uno)(1!) person working the counter fill a colonel-sized bucket with sundry bits of fried God knows what for an indecisive -- and apparently quite hungry -- young man. Then I waited while a couple ordered one pound (shaved) of pretty much every type of lunch meat I could imagine, plus a few of whose existence I had previously been blissfully unaware.
After wandering the two acre store to pick up the other nine (9) items for which I had come, including a trip to the wine section, which could only be further from everything else in the store if it were in a different dimension, I moved to check out. Of course there were only two lines open, because who would imagine that there would be people grocery shopping at 2:00 on Saturday afternoon? Apparently no one in the grocery business, that's who.
After waiting behind several families apparently stocking up for the end times, I was second in line behind a thirty-something couple and their daughter buying (I swear to God) twelve (12) half gallons of Sunny D, two pounds of coffee, six (6) or eight (8) bottles of Old Spice body wash and not much else. If they were planning a party, I am really glad I wasn't invited. As their total was rung up, the cashier asked if they would like to join the cookware savings club or some such. The wife asked about five questions and then started reading the brochure! In the checkout line! Of course the decision had to be made before their credit card could be run, and once she had read the entire three page brochure and decided she wanted to join, we got to wait until a manager could come and do whatever important things managers have to do for important transactions like this one to be completed.
By this time I can't even see the end of the line behind me, and I think the woman next after me is about to go postal. And during all of this, do you think they even tried to open another checkout lane? Oh, you've grocery shopped before? You know they didn't.
So, the miraculous part? During this whole ordeal, from bucket to bimbo, I did not so much as grit my teeth. I didn't feel like shanking anyone. I wasn't upset. I wasn't even really impatient. I was actually sort of enjoying myself. I smiled at everyone who would have it, and didn't even get upset when two separate people tried to run me down in the parking lot.
This is the second time this week I have met adversity with grace, which is really quite unlike me. Perhaps I am growing wiser in my old age, gaining perspective and understanding the importance of enjoying each day. Or maybe I have a tumor. I think I will make an appointment before the death panels get organized.