Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Morning ReRun

Sunday Morning ReRun

I actually wrote today.


For a couple of hours. Felt good. Felt like I got something down. In theory, I've got 5 mornings off in the next seven days. I hope to get started on the serialized novel things I've got going again.

I have to start every sentence, though, regarding my personal life with the phrase "In theory." Circumstances don't often cooperate. Bear with me.

Anyway. Here's a re-run. Came up on a search string earlier this morning. I'd forgotten it. From February 2005:

Chris had a story about an excursion to the grocery store, where he managed to get in line behind the worst possible customer.
That's me, too. In the sense that every now and then, I seem to find the checkout line with the biggest possible wait caused by the most idiotic possible person. It's Harvey Pekar's luck, and when it comes to the grocery, I have it.

My personal pet peeve is still the self-check lane. I'm a surgical strike shopper. I know what I want, and I don't want to hang around the store waiting to pay. I've decided that the self-check lane is a good idea, in theory.

However, the thing rarely works right. I have to stand there with purchases while some slackjaw comes to give me change for a five. Or, all the manned checkouts are full, and the self-check lane is filled with some piece of crap who has a cart and a half worth of groceries, but lives in the year 1967 and hasn't quite figured out the "bar code." Or you get behind the piece of shit who has 29 little bitty containers of lip gloss, and is taking roughly a week and a half to scan each one.

And...there's only one store in my town right now that has a self-check lane. And it's not really a self check lane. You scan your items. But the store has the scanner set, a lot of the time, so that things won't ring up unless the person at the station supervising the self-check lanes okays the purchase. So you don't get to buy your economy size bag of pork rinds unless the person at the counter says it's okay, which essentially takes twice the amount of time it would if you'd just gone to the manned checkout.

So, you're stuck in the manned lines.

My psychosis about the checkout lines are the customers. The ones who just don't understand how the conveyor belt works. You know, the little line that you put your purchases on so that the checker has easy access to them?

Say you're buying a couple of things (gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, and a car battery). The person in front of you is also buying a couple of things (three packs of baseball cards and a giant bottle of hand lotion). You know, that car battery's getting kind of heavy. You want to set it on the conveyor.

The but person in line in front of you has their stuff on the conveyor, but they aren't letting their purchases ride the conveyor to the front of the line. Instead, they've got their hand in front of their goods, letting them slide along the belt. We've had electric eyes for years now. Just let your stuff go, and before it goes tumbling into the lap of the checker, the electric eye will catch your giant bottle of Jergens and stop the progress of the belt.

Meanwhile, I won't have to give myself a hernia holding onto my car battery so that it doesn't crush your purchases.

That's the grocery store gripe.

I got off on a small rant there on the grocery.

What I wanted to write about was the experience I had at a local fast food eatery this past weekend.

I was helping my Dad fix the roof above their carport (he bought some old tin roofing off a fellow who'd torn down a barn, and Dad's putting the tin above the carport, but below the deck'll channel the rainwater better, and give squirrels less of a place to make hidey-holes). Before we started, he asked if I wanted breakfast. He'd pay if I'd run into town to buy.

He wanted, specifically, 2 sausage and egg biscuits from McDonald's. Got orders from everybody, and off I wandered into town to find McDonald's.

I live in a small town. About 12,000 people or so.

Every one of them was at McDonald's. In the drive thru.

After consulting, everyone was still adamant about McDonald's biscuits. The eggs are better, apparently.

Since the drive thru line stretched from here all the way to your home town, I wandered inside. The line was long, but not 15 cars long. McDonald's has an inexplicable draw on this town. It's ALWAYS busy. I think it's the brain control drugs in their food.

I'm immune. I have no brain.

I go into the restaurant behind a guy in a blue flannel jacket. He gets into the same line I do, right in front of me. We're both there the same amount of time.

Now, I know exactly what I want. I'm picking up for a few people. I've got my order in my head, even before I come in the door.

We wait in line for four or five minutes. Not long, really. But long enough if you're standing in line at the fast food restaurant.

We're there. Doing nothing but staring up at the big menu on the wall, the one with all the food and the corresponding prices. For five minutes. I could decide what I want for my next 19 meals in five minutes.

We finally get up to the counter.

"Can I help you?" the girl asks.

"Uhh...Let me think," the guy says. And he does. For a long time. He doesn't say anything.

Suddenly, I'm in Sinbad's standup act.

I wish I'd had a slapjack. Or a sockful of nickels. I think I'd have been well within my rights to have put the guy out for a while. You get a time out. Rejoin humanity when you know how to act socially.

I made eye contact with the counter person, as the guy pondered "Breakfast Burrito" or "Sausage Griddle." She was wishing for a slapjack, too.

But then, aren't we all?

Luckily, the next register became free. The fellow in that line asked me to go ahead, because he hadn't decided. Nice fellow. I might have slapjacked him, too.

But that's because I don't know how to act socially, either.

By the time I got my six biscuits, the guy I'd been in line behind was just finishing ordering what he'd wanted, and paying. As I was leaving, we made eye contact, and he gave me a friendly nod, and his expression, smiling with raised eyebrows, still confuses me.

I don't know what that eyebrow raise meant.

It could have meant "Wow, that was quick! Good job."

Or, it could have meant "It was a pleasure sharing the McDonald's experience with you. I truly am lovin' it!"

Or even "Hey! You look familiar! Like a really heavy Neil Patrick Harris!"

But thinking back, and knowing the annoyance he'd put me through, I like to think that somewhere in the recesses of whatever passes for a brain in this human rain delay's head, as he smiles and nods at me:

"Hey! I can breathe air through my mouth and my nose! That's astonishing!"

Because I'm sure that's what people who annoy me think about.

Wow. This was a long post.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home