The other day, my destination was the local branch of a grocery store that has superb sales every Friday. My trip, however, took a non-mandatory detour when I exited the freeway to avoid a miles-long backup in traffic. Since every other driver had seized upon the same opportunity and the same off-ramp, taking the frontage road looked as if it would be just as slow-moving.
No problem, I thought, happily patting my Droid smartphone. I’m sure there is another branch north of here, I’ll just search my map function. Thus, empowered I drove directly to the other branch.
While my usual grocery store is a “flagship” location (something I learned while settling a small issue with the store manager quite a while ago), this location was apparently the “barnacle” version. It was dirty, cramped and looked like an aged hooker at dawn after an unproductive night. Not that I’ve ever actually seen an old hooker at dawn… I am NOT a morning person.
The produce section, my favorite, was not as well stocked as the impromptu, operating-without-a-permit roadside stands that sometimes pop up. And, they did NOT have the five dollar deals that had prompted me to wait until Friday. Nevertheless, I summoned up my pioneer spirit and found enough ingredients for a revised meal plan.
At the register, I chatted with the woman who was waiting behind me. She had no items at all and I assumed she was buying some you-gotta-ask-them-to-get-it-from-a-locked-display item. We joked about forgetting our reusable bags (although I had mine right there) and the many uses for the plastic bags – mostly as dog poop scoopers. Since we both clearly had dogs, I inquired about local feed stores as I also needed to get the right kind of dog food.
As the cashier, overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of my 12 items, listened in, she kept asking, “Is this item yours, too?”. Wondering, I guess, why the next customer had no items while I had so many. I kept answering, “yes, it is. All the items until you get to that little bar are mine”. Finally the cashier said, “Are you two together?”
In jest, I said, “Oh, do you see that woman too? I was thinking she might be my imaginary friend”. The cashier said, “Wouldn’t you know?” and I replied, “How would I ?”.
Finally reaching the end of my purchase, I was handed a “come-back” coupon fo $5 off my next purchase. I love those coupons. They apply to anything except the 3 evils: liquor, tobacco or milk. (Yeah, I, too, have always wondered why tobacco was in that group. It is not a liquid)
Remembering that I always lose those coupons before I “come-back”, I thought – hey, let’s do a random act kinda thing. So I handed it to my imaginary friend.
She smiled with absolute delight and said, “wow – I can get a bigger bottle of vodka now!”
To which I replied, “Oh, you can’t use it on that”
And she said, “You already gave it to me and can’t take it back! I can use it on whatever the F* I want!”
No wonder I have so few imaginary friends.