“Watch this girly… I’m going to whack my husband, gonna get him good…” the elderly woman said after turning abruptly to face Hannah in the ‘10 items or less’ line. Before Hannah could piece the words together to understand their meaning she watched horrified as the bizarre little woman turned and did exactly as she said she would. Pulling the cart towards her to build a little momentum, the woman arched her back like an ornery cat and gave the cart a healthy shove.
All Hannah could do was watch.
“OUCH!!!” the old man at the receiving end of the cart let out a howl as Hannah, the check-out girl and bag boy all stood by, rendered immobile by the strangeness of the situation.
“Did ya see that, girly! I hit ‘em good!” the old woman nudged Hannah and cackled hysterically.
“What the hell is going on?!?” Hannah thought frantically. She felt as if the normal backdrop of the grocery check-out lane had somehow been snatched away and replaced with some twisted Japanese game show.
The woman must have seen the distressed look on Hannah’s face and patting her shoulder all but cooed, “Don’t worry, girly. I’m just a nasty old woman,” and giving her a wink turned back to her sputtering husband on the other side of the cart.
“You crazy old bat! You see what she did? You see how she treats me?” the old man was wailing, pleading with the check-out girl who seemed only slightly interested. “It’s husband abuse, that’s what it is!” he continued to whine, nursing what Hannah assumed to be his injured leg.
“Husband abuse?!?” the old woman replied laughing, “Well that sounds like a wonderful concept!”
“I’ve got witnesses! Witnesses this time that saw what you did… that girl there! She saw the whole thing!” the old man shouted and pointed a crooked finger in Hannah’s direction.
Before Hannah could say a word or abandon her sad pile of almonds, yogurt and apples and run screaming out of there, the elderly couple exchanged an unreadable look before they both burst into a fit of giggles. Still laughing they walked hand in hand behind their basket of freshly bagged groceries, escorted by the bag boy who seemed to be pleased just to tag along.
“What the hell?!?” Hannah almost screamed at the check-out girl.
The girl gave Hannah a sympathetic look and in-between the beeps of her scanner said, “Don’t worry, they come in here every day with that routine. They get a kick out of messing with younger people. They don’t mean any harm. Paper or plastic?”
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: The grocery store weirds me out. I think I’ve said that before, but the fact remains. Having to ‘shop’ for food with other people never has sat right with me, and the gazillion-and-one choices… ugh. It’s all a little too much. So today, I couldn’t postpone the trip any longer and decided to just run in for a few things. All went well until I arrived in the ’10 items or less’ line. There, I met some interesting characters, namely a woman who by her own account was turning ‘seven one’ on February 8th only invert those numbers, girly! This lady was a hoot in her loud floral top, too much eye makeup and zero inhibitions. At first I thought she was accusing me of running into her husband’s ‘butt’ with my basket, that is until I watched her ram her cart into the unsuspecting chap as he fumbled with his coupons. “See that, girly (apparently my name is girly)? I got him!” she screamed to me, as if I were her accomplice. That’s when her husband started up, making a fuss about how he was injured and they’d have to make a stop at the hospital now and this was husband abuse… all in good fun, of course. The whole encounter completely stunned me since I typically expect fellow shoppers to behave like me: all business, keep to yourself, only talk when prompted. Well now I was part of a mini-melodrama/comedy and I was expected to play my part. So I mumbled a few things, laughed when they looked at me and waved goodbye as the left. People are weird.
Love & Squirrels.