Lighten up, Francis

I was at the store the other day getting my daily fix of this tasty beverage and not much else, maybe a magazine. Two 2-liter bottles and a magazine. It was after the dinner hour, so the place was pretty deserted, but it wasn’t so late that they had already closed down the self-serve registers, so I headed for the nearest one of those so I could zip in and zip out.

Theoretically.

I had a sense of forboding as soon as I got in line behind this chick who was just finishing paying. She seemed, how shall I say, highly strung. I hung back a bit, giving her some space while she started bagging her not-small pile of groceries, and then I stepped up to the scanner in as non-threatening a way as I could muster.

I scanned my two bottles of soda and sent them merrily on their way down the belt. As the first bottle neared her pile of unbagged groceries, the highly strung lady did a remarkable thing: she suddenly flung her upper body across the conveyor belt… in what could only be interpreted as a desperate attempt to protect her groceries from any befouling contact with mine.

Arms outstretched, feet off the floor, her body weight balanced on her torso, lying across the side of the check-out counter, she glared at me as I helpfully tried to hand her the sturdy plastic bar they have velcroed to the side for just this purpose: to separate people’s orders. Trying to reassure her that our items wouldn’t get all confused together, I smiled and said something like,

It’s OK, I only have these three things, I’ll be out of here in a moment…

Her glare grew incredulous, as I clearly didn’t appreciate the gravity of the situation.

MY BERRIES!!! She gritted through her teeth. YOU’RE CRUSHING MY BERRIES!!!

I looked down, and sure enough, there — getting profoundly squashed under her allegedly protective torso, I might add — were two little plastic-wrapped pints of raspberries.

First of all, who buys raspberries in December? And then expects them to taste like anything approaching raspberries?

Second, it ain’t my bottles of sparkly water that are endangering your precious berries, ma’am, it’s your own flailing limbs.

And finally, lady, lighten up. I’m guessing everything you cook, including your famous raspberry strudel or whatever the hell it is, tastes overwhelmingly of stress, anger and fear. And that probably tastes even worse than the Unhappy Marriage Upside Down Cake my aunt used to make.

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