Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Keeps Getting Worse

"We manufacture these!" I seethed, having poking at buttons and wiggling cables for the last two hours. "And we can't get them to work?" I glared at the offending device and crossed my arms, tapping my toe for agitated good measure. "You acquire data!" I ordered it. "You do it right now!"

Alas, it did not and with a final flip of my hair which I hope expressed my utter disgust with the situation, I returned to my desk and made my way through two useless conference calls and a hurried to a seminar I'd organized.

I mentally composed a grocery list after I offered a smiling introduction to our visitor and his topic and got bored somewhere between cream and flour. The questions were frequent and discussion lively so I counted myself pleased with the overall experience. (Plus, I got to talk to a very pretty boy who invited me to lunch sometime.)

Buoyed by the brief flirtation, I returned to additional conference calls and emails, slowly growing more frustrated again. Finally, with a muttered bad word, I tucked various items in my bag and left. Deciding only carrot cake could save the horrible day, I stopped at the store and deftly pulled into a very good parking spot.

I paused when an elderly woman called out, turning to move toward her.

"Are you going inside?" she asked, motioning to the store and nodded when I replied that I was. "Will you take my cart?" she continued and I smiled before reaching for the handle.

"It's no problem," I demurred when she thanked me very much. "Have a nice evening."

I thought of my aging phobia, acknowledging that I remained utterly terrified of the fact that I'm growing older. Baring an early death, I might someday stand outside a grocery store, tired after my shopping trip, and ask someone to take my cart inside. My hair would remain dark, I decided, thinking of Grandma, but would be liberally sprinkled with gray strands. I would likely wear slacks and blouses - that's what all the nice, old women of my acquaintance wear so I should follow suit.

Unable to find vegetables that appealed in the produce section, I paused to select cheese from the display case and paused before tossing it in the cart. My eyes widened as I looked in the basket and I gasped with utter horror.

"No, no, no, no, no..." I whispered, reaching for the item beside my cheese and scampering toward the door. In the foyer of the store, I peered out the window and whimpered when I saw that I was too late. She had already pulled out of the handicapped spot and driven away.

I looked down at my hands, clutched around it, and closed my eyes and sighed heavily. If lying in church hadn't already assured me of a spot in the fiery pits of Hell, this would certainly seal the deal, I decided.

I had stolen the sweet, old woman's cane.

I returned it to my cart and finished my shopping. I picked a whole carrot cake and some crackers to go with my cheese. I remembered flour and realized Sprout was low on kibble before moving toward the refrigerated case to fetch cream.

I returned the cane to the customer service counter at the front of the store. "I didn't notice it," I explained, twisting my hands. "I was thinking about other things. I'm sorry." I winced when they thanked me for returning it. "Tell her I'm sorry," I requested again. "It's just not my day."

3 comments:

Geeka said...

You wouldn't happen to make Aria's would you? I so threaten that machine.

Jenn, PhD said...

Oops! But I'm sure she still appreciated the help with the cart, and hopefully she'll be back to claim her cane soon. Hope the carrot cake was yummy.

Psych Post Doc said...

Oh no, I'm sure she'll be glad that you realized it and left it at customer service rather than it got mangled when the shopping carts were all pushed together.

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