Have you ever had one of those days when you happen to be in locales where people say the damnedest things? Where, through no fault of your own, you end up on the giving end of a slapstick down?
I know, you’re nice, polite people who would let things like this pass like gas. But I, being the type who enjoys a good furrowed brow, can’t. It’s a flaw, I admit. But it’s a flaw that would not manifest itself if people wouldn’t, I don’t know, be peopleish.
I’m in one of those healthy food stores, the kind where you have to help the checkers lift your produce due to the fact that ten to fifteen percent of their body weight is tattoos. I watched as one, gallantly, rolled a lemon over the scanner with only the use of two hands and an elbow. I’m sure he’ll be Employee of the Month.
Even though I’m sure you are aware that it wasn’t my idea to visit this establishment let me reiterate that I would have been in severe need of a testosterone boost to even wander past. I’m barely kidding when I say I became a hero to the throng when I, through the use of only my thumb, held down the intercom button while the Arugula Liaison called for a Chickpea Liaison to assist with a customers question.
Needless to say, I’m trying to wade thorough this establishment leaving as light a mark and little swallowed wheat grass as possible. The first I feel I can accomplish due to the fact that I often have complete control of my actions. The other is a little trickier because my girlfriend, who loves samples, doesn’t even care if the free item in question has the words wheat grass in it.
I’m not a heathen, I’ve had wheat grass before. But then I’ve also had a nail in my heel which I pulled out with pliers because it was the only way to 1) continue walking and 2) see how much blood can gush out of ones foot (answer: quite a bit, actually). So I may not be the perfect person to discuss things entered into ones body.
My girlfriend is looking at some very fine produce which I agree wholeheartedly is, indeed, fine. Again, do not consider me only a devotee of bowling alley cuisine. I’ve eaten in places that would cringe at a spork much less salivate at the ‘ding’ of the ‘Greasies Pizza’ oven. But I’m also someone who does not find shopping a pastime. Oh, it does pass time but not in any manner I prefer.
I’m standing still, I find that stance best, when a little kid walks up to me and informs me that he can’t find his father. I quickly inform him that, no matter what he’s been told by the courts, I am not him. Once he gets past the glee of that statement, we get down to business.
Mine is wondering how anyone can get lost in a store where the shelves are less than six feet high and is not as large as some SUV’s I saw in the parking lot (true: a sign in the parking area read: Parking For Vegan Heavin’ Customers Only (while shopping at Vegan Heavin’). Are there so many ‘customers’ parking and leaving the car while they go to work they have to explain it’s only while they’re shopping there? The nerve of that establishment!).
In an attempt to match child to parent I ask,
“What’s he like?”
The little boy hesitates for a moment,
“Don’t tell Mommie.” I nod. “He likes Crown Royal and women with big tits.”
Okay, okay, my girlfriend didn’t like that joke either when I did it while passing a couple having a discussion about which type of lettuce would be better on tacos. But, trust me, right about this time if I didn’t tell a joke I would have tried to find the father in that joke.
We’re nearing the cash registers so I begin to cheer. I’m standing on a one foot square of establishment between a salad bar and cardboard stand-up for a tofu substitute, To-Phooey: Same no taste, twice the nothingness! From Zenco.
I figure I am now in the home stretch. I make eye contact with no one while entertaining myself with thoughts from the day (such as, we were at the vets with Brutus and a guy with a wiener dog named Meyer tried to talk to me. I guess I would have talked to him but while he’s standing there he’s kissing the dog. Not on the head or even a little neck work but, for me, it was on the belly a little too close to Meyer’s wiener.
Then there was the woman circling angrily. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a stressful time having your pet there, but if the owner is that high-strung I pity the puppy.
A technician walks through a doorway and calls,
“Owner of Reever.”
“REVer!” The woman snaps. The tech smiles and tries to pass the dog off without reacting. Good thing she had me in the room, huh?
I laughed and the woman snaps around and glares at me. Doesn’t she know things like acknowledging my existence only encourages me?
“He has a proper name so should be called by such.” She states. I watch the technician pretending to fill out some paperwork trying not to make eye contact with me.
“Chill out! I’m sure proper name pronunciation isn’t that important to something that eats it’s own shit.”
We also had a moment when Brutus, walking over counters while the doctor was assessing him, decided he wanted whatever it was in a container. The fact that I pointed out it said, right there in big letters, Dog Treats, didn’t dissuade him.
So he knocked off the top, reached in, realized he doesn’t have thumbs, so stuck his head in there and pulled out one dog treat. Which he ate.)
I’m standing in the store, bothering no one, thinking we really should get Brutus reading lessons when I hear,
“Could you move?”
Huh? I look around expecting someone to be sidling up to the To-Phooey. I was a little surprised when I realize the direction is from someone between three to five feet away from me.
“I’m not close enough to you to make that an issue.”
Oh, yes it is! I come to find out.
To refresh, I’m standing beside a salad bar, the side I am standing next to is not accessible, while my heels are backed against a product stand-up. I am truly no danger to anyone or their food gathering happiness.
“I’d rather you weren’t this close.”
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, I forgot. Cambridge.
For those of you unfamiliar with Cambridge and the many, many, many Cantabridigians who evolve there, I will not spoil your lunch by telling you about them. Suffice it to say, I am doing you a huge favor.
“Sir,” I say without disdain, judgement, or homicidal debate on my face (in my head? You’ll never know for sure, will you?). “You can safely go about your grazing. All will be fine.”
I turn away from this man figuring no one could continue with this event.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, I forgot. Cambridge.
“Do not make me become aggressive! I demand my personal space.” He states while stepping into my space! I know! He’s invading my To-Phooey!
I look at him and something strikes me funny. It’s not the fact that, at about 6′ 4″, he’s really leaning over to get in my face. It’s not even the fact that I don’t think his choice of no bacteria harming toothpaste is a very good idea. The fact I found funny is that he is wearing a Yanni shirt.
I’m being bitched out by a Yanni fan!
I can’t take my eyes off the ebbing and flowing Yanni face while this guy is continuing what must be a vicious beat-down. I don’t know how insulted I should be because I’m too busy thinking,
‘I’m in a confrontation with a guy in a Yanni shirt.’
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, I forgot. Cambridge.
“I am not joking about this. My personal space is very important. I don’t want to make this hard for you.”
I look into the guys face and smile. I pull my face closer to his and look him square in the eye.
“I take shits harder than you.”
While the guy threatens to get the manager and have me barred for ‘hurtful language’ (that’s going to be on my permanent record) my girlfriend wanders up telling me she got a call from the warden and I can get out on time served.
While standing in line I keep an eye on the top of the guys head. I’m hoping it’s a long line because, if I’m going to be barred, I want to make sure they use a security picture that features my good side. But, nothing ever comes of it. I watched the guy and, after pleading his case (“He was two feet from the lactose free mother’s milk!), he just stood there. What does a boy have to do to get booted from an outfit like this?
I wanted to give it one last shot. So, with a big sneeze brewing, I stepped closer to the salad bar than I’ve ever been and. . .
Damn! That sneeze detecting sneeze guard (with full floor coverage).