I was in line at the local grocery store, with my cart full of groceries. The man in front of me decided that he wished to leave the line-up. He started backing up, a high-pitched beeping indicated his intention. With considerable difficulty, everyone had to, likewise, back up, to allow his cart out. It was not a pretty sight, and we all sported identical scowls of inconvenience. With nary an apology, he disappeared over the horizon. To my dismay, and utter horror, people started filing into the temporary space revealed by the man’s departure. I grasped my face with both hands (see Munch’s The Scream for a reference) and began a low muttering that ended in a glassily high-pitched wail of despair. This caused a halt to this dubious activity. Why did something like this always happen? Then, I decided to take it like a life lesson: what did this teach me? To avoid grocery stores, grow my own turnips and forage through dumpsters for sustenance. What I did do was try to come up with an ‘alternative ending’ for this scenario. Next time, I would refuse to budge, stare stonily off into space. It’s so hard to do, willfully ignore people. The alternative was to strip off my shirt (I’d have a ‘wife-beater’ type shirt on underneath, of course), and immediately adopt a boxing pose, circa late 19th century, when they wore those ridiculous striped trunks. I pictured it now, minus the huge moustache they all wore in those days. I would prance around aggressively, fists cocked until the urge went away, and the man decided to stay in the line-up, after all. I thought of the fanfare, the roar of approval from my grocery line-up brethren.
When about to embark on the tedium of grocery shopping, I have often thought it would just be easier to hijack someone’s cart. The only job would be to filter out the undesirable items: anything green, head cheese, canned water chestnuts, handbags. Most of your shopping would be done for you. And there would be an endless supply of individuals to which you could perform this victimless crime. Victimless, except of course, the victim.
To prevent someone from stealing my empty cart, as so often happens in these tight economic times, I simply place a large, bulky item in it. This immediately stamps the cart as mine, and mine alone, throughout the duration of my loonie (one dollar coin) impregnating the cart. One time, however, I forgot to remove this random item and found myself loading a 20 kilo sack of birdfeed into the minivan. I was forced to buy a birdfeeder. Good thing I hadn’t bought a 12 pack of baby formula.