I was heading to the beach and needed two items. I quickly grabbed them and skipped to the express line in Food Lion with one lady in front of me. She was a well-put-together woman in her seventies chatting with check-out guy.
Check-out guy was young and eager to answer all the questions coming at him. Oh, she asked him about his summer and seemed genuinely interested in his college choice. You see, he was “making extra money before heading to UNC Wilmington in the fall.”
“My grandson went there!” she exclaimed. I found my mind wandering back to my college years.
“Ma”am, what are these?” check-out guy asked referring to what was in the produce baggie. “Oh, those are pluOTS.” (heavy emphasis on that second syllable). “They’re a cross between a plum and an apricot. They’re so sweet this time of year.” Trusting her answer, he clicked the little codes in the cash register. Damn, I should have gotten a bottle of ChardonNAY. He fumbled with the next baggie as if it were a Braille textbook. “Avocado”, she answered before he could even ask. “Gonna make me some of that guacamole tonight,” she said with the brightest smile. Apparently removing items from these little baggies and scanning those little stickers is not customary here. This way takes much more time, something we have loads of. My left eye began to twitch as it does when I have to refrain.
I have adapted a West Coast mentality mixed with Southern genes. Patience is not virtuous to me, but I do my darnedest when I come home. There are “tests” along the way and this was turning into an exam.
Right then, a white-haired gentleman walked in with khaki bermuda shorts, a bait-n-tackle t-shirt, and topsiders, a uniform in the South.
“Ed!!! Heyyyyyy. Oh my GAHHHD! It’s been ayyyyyyy-ges!” He mosied on over and they hugged and a reunion ensued right before me. He talked to her about the rain and her grandchildren and she asked him about his wife’s gall bladder and how the fish were biting.
“Sadie, you shore are holding up well, considering everything and all.” I pondered over what “everything and all” was. I, on the other hand, was holding onto the checkout counter, conveyor belt stopped so Sadie and Ed could wrap up years of loose ends.
A portly woman behind me was guffawing over the gossip mags-so much so I wondered if she was inviting me to join in to see what was so gosh darn humorous or if it was just a party of one. If she was this excited in the express line (term used loosely), I can only imagine homecoming at her Baptist church. I should have taken over her free spirit and succumbed to the tedious wait, made myself at home like everyone else in Express Line 1. I should have. Instead I was made acutely aware that I was the only one with an agenda. Time stood still at the FL. I was locked in a grocery store reality show.
After Ed and Sadie bid farewell and the conveyor belt started back up, Sadie took out her checkbook. Ohhh nooo. Checkbooks are virtually banned in CA as no one can be trusted and ….they hold up the line! Even entering a debit card PIN can cause glares.
Meanwhile the checkout line on isle 5 that had wrapped around the Jell-o molds past the neon yellow cupcakes and Moon Pies had cleared out.
“Ma’am, what kind of apples are in here?” check-out guy inquired. Sadie’s arm rested on the rectangular perch and she gave great thought to this.
“Let’s see. They’re either Fuji or Gala. Wait. Wait. They might be Red Delicious. Aren’t those on sale today?”
Remove them from the bag! Look at them!! I screamed in my head.
“Price check for produce!” check-out guy exclaimed over the impressive PA system. My watermelon and turkey were warm. I had no doubts that Sadie had spent most of her morning here at the FL chatting and perusing. She put those apples in her cart hours ago! How could she remember? I started wondering about Ed’s wife’s gall bladder.
Sadie giggled because she actually had put Fuji AND Red Delicious apples in the same bag! Oh my! I, too, had to giggle. I was sandwiched between Ms. Congeniality and Ms. Gossip Junkie and physically nor ethically (yes, I’m scrupulous even in Food Lion) could I be pried away. Ms. Gossip Junkie had now read three mags cover to cover and was enjoying her vacay. She now had a bubbly buddy behind her joining in unison at the disbelief of “what these stars get away with.” I grabbed a Peppermint Patty and tore it open for sustenance. I massaged my left eye as it was dancing out of socket.
Sadie finally signed her effen check and ohhhhhhhh-soooooo-carefully removed it from its perforations. She thanked check-out guy profusely as if he had discovered the cure for her bursitis. Everyone had gotten to know each other in these tight brightly lit quarters. She grabbed her bags of potato salads, pluOTS, and mixture of apples and waved back at the crowd as if she were on a float.
Right then she leaned to me and gushed, “Oh honey, I just LOVE your hair!” Awwwwww. Gosh I love Sadie. I’m gonna miss her.
When was the last time you were in a hurry and finally just gave in?
“I’ve learned to used meditation and relaxation to handle stress. Just kidding. I’m on my third glass of wine.” Anonymous
Kendall-Jackson 2012 Grand Reserve ChardonNAY
Lush tropical fruit intertwines with lemon and lime. Elegantly rounded with a vanilla and spice finish.
Perfect for the beach, a summer dinner party, or after an outing at your local grocery store. $22.00