Thursday, August 23, 2007

You shall go to the ball, but watch out for trolls


I am given a free pass by my dearly beloved.

I’ve played the pity card and won.

Due to my gross inefficiency, our household lacks one or two essential items, without which life is not worth contemplating, for reasons that are too complicated to explain. The net result is that I am given permission to go to the supermarket on my own, whilst my knight in shining armour minds the kids. The only penalty attached to this window of freedom, is that I have to take his car. His car is a nasty little thing without a roof. If I wanted to whiz along with the wind running through my hair then I’d ride a bike. To save the environment, I really should ride a bike, but the thing that I need to buy is to heavy.

Because I have had to attend a meeting I am dressed like a human being rather than a mum.

I skip out to the driveway to enjoy my 30 minutes free pass. I fight with the car lock. I win. I switch on the ignition and am instantly deafened by 50 decibels of rock music. I punch buttons on the dash board until silence returns and my heart starts beating again. I drive the nasty little car to the supermarket cautiously. I am so close to the ground that I’m in danger of grazing something that I’d rather not graze. Every car on the road is a giant. My line of sight matches everyone else’s shiny hub caps. Because I am driving a vehicle that might loosely be described as a sports car, other drivers give me a wide birth under the misapprehension that I will drive in an unpredictable, fast and erratic manner. Strangely, that is exactly how I normally drive in my jolly big car, when I have a far too many children in the back seat.

On arrival I park with car and wander inside the shop. I amble up and down the air conditioned aisles without a care in the world. I select all the right items with ease, as I have no distractions. I am an efficient shopper for the first time in a decade. I go straight to the top of the class. I am a little star. I glide to the check out wait behind a woman with an overflowing cart. I am in no rush. The woman slams her items on the conveyor belt and glances in my direction. She glares. I check behind me, but no-one is there. I decide that I should practice smiling. This would be the ideal opportunity to reveal my perfect smile, a little exercise. My braces are off, now all I need to do is remember that there should be some muscles around the mouth area. I wait for her to glance back again. When she does, I’m ready for her and honour her with a generous flash of the enamel.

“I’m goin as fast as I can!” she shouts.
“Oh I’m in no hurry,” I beam back. She shakes her head and then pauses to lean on the rim of her cart. Her lips part but then she shakes her head again and continues to empty the cart.

She stomps back to the bagging area, dumps her purse on the shelf and wipes her brow. There is wrangling with the payment and the coupons and the check book. The checker is harassed. The queue behind me has grown considerably. A dodgy pen doesn’t assist her and she swears, mildly, but with venom. Her eyes dart towards me. “What are you lookin at?” she shouts. I do a double check. Me? Or someone else? Apparently me! “Oh nothing really,” I whimper with just a hint of enamel. I remove my bifocals so that everything is a blur, which is bound to help. I position myself in front of the magazine rack and enjoy the gaudy colours. I hear her rattle her cart free of the stock and march away. I am careful to avoid watching her departure and scurry to deposit my own items. I’m through, paid and bagged in a trice, so that I am free to skip past the electric doors and out into the glorious sunshine.

I cannot find the car in the parking lot. Where could it possibly be? Then I remember that I am in the nasty little car. I hunt around for the very tiny, easily hidden, nasty little car. Ah! There it is. I hoppety skip to the car. Next to it, is a big family mobile. The door is open, as is the trunk. The trunk is over flowing with paraphanalia, very much like my own. The woman hurls bags of groceries into the body of the car. She looks hot and harassed, much as I usually do myself. I slide past her and toss my bag onto the empty passenger seat and slip into the driver side.

“What?” she shouts, and yes, there is no other human being around.
“Have a great day!” I offer in what I hope approximates a happy positive friendly tone. She folds her arms under her mighty chest, a gesture that I find vaguely threatening and leans back against her own car to tell me, “You just wait til you have a couple of kids, then you won’t be so fuc*** happy!”

And that my fine friend is irony, as opposed to sarcasm.

And in my other "life".......

16 comments:

Hammer said...

People have no idea what to do when people are nice to them. It's better than torture :)

The Anti-Wife said...

Wow. She needs some valium! Good job Maddy!

Awesome Mom said...

Oh that gave me a good laugh. I wonder if she would have been as breezy and happy as you if her kids had been home. I love those rare occasions when I can get out and do some shopping on my own. It is amazing how much I can get done with out hauling them around. They are both pretty well behaved but doing anything with them takes twice as long.

Linda said...

Okay, so I guess grocery shopping is just not her most favorite activity in the world but why take it out on you? I swear, people are getting grumpier and grumpier every day and then taking it out on the person closest by.

Jeni said...

That was really funny! If only she knew! Wonder if, had the tables been reversed and she had been shopping for only a few items, was relishing the freedom of just that, and if you -with the boys in tow were ahead of her, would she have had any little bit of understanding and compassion or would she have lashed out then too?

dgibbs said...

That's too funny! I can just see you know skipping thru the store, sunshining, birds singing. Sounds like that woman could do with a 30 pass. Would do her a world of good.

kristen said...

Oh my. Seems you never really know do you? Hooray for you for keeping your cool...

mumkeepingsane said...

I feel sorry for her really. I imagine she needs something in her life to help her see what's really important.

I also imagine, had you told her your reality most of the time, she would have found a way to tell you how much worse off she is.

I grocery shopped on my own last night due to planning a party for dh's birthday. I admit, I felt a bit guilty (but it was pleasurable).

Melissa said...

Amazing. Simply amazing. The lengths that some people go to just to be rude...

Mary-LUE said...

I know I've felt like that woman but I can't imagine ever communicating it verbally to some poor unsuspecting observer.

Still, this was pretty funny, Maddy! Irony, indeed!

Skewedview said...

You paint a vivid picture. "My line of sight matches everyone else’s shiny hub caps." I loved that line. And I know exactly what you mean about the radio blasting when starting the car, I have had several heart stoppages driving after the teenagers.
What's with people today? Seems like most folks are so angry, inconsiderate and selfish. Poo on them.
Great post.

Karen said...

That's priceless. Irony, indeed.

slouching mom said...

Hahahahahahah!

This made me laugh so hard.

People can be so needlessly rude.

Julianne said...

ROFL! That was hysterical! My son is getting better in the grocery store overall, but there are times I wish I had those cards to hand out that explain he has autism and a short definition...

You did an excellent job of taking us on the trip with you! Thank you! I enjoyed!

Blessings to you!

Carol said...

How true! What grace you have, girl! How funny is that --- of all the parking places in the lot!! Her grundies are most likely still in a bundle about it. It's sad, really, how people are so quick to make conclusions and judgments. So glad you got to go out on a childless adventure... next childless half hour should be to the spa for a pedicure!!! :)

liv said...

That was hysterical! And, wonderful! How dare you be so happy and unhurried?