Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bitty Runs an Errand

Getting out of the house, away from the press of undone work, is always good, even if it's only a grocery run.

Winn Dixie is running a serious t-bone sale, and carnivore that I am, I thought I should go buy a few and stock up. And I needed other things, too.

It's rainy and a bit cold today, but somehow I find that cheery. Change can be good, and we've had very little rain for months and not much cold yet this season.

As I pulled into my parking space, the rain ratcheted up from a 2 to an 8 on the downpour scale. I thought I'd try waiting it out and did a little people-watching to pass the time. The woman who owned the car next to me showed up and tried to shove her groceries in the back of her car as fast as she could, but she had a lot of them and was getting soaked. Then a girl, a WD employee, donned a heavy yellow raincoat and raced from the store to the woman to help her get the bags in. The girl and I smiled at each other as she raced off, superhero-style, to save the next shopper from drenched clothing.

Finally I got tired of waiting for the rain to slack off, so I grabbed the trusty umbrella and waded to the store entrance. As I was thinking about how I maybe should praise the parking lot girl to the manager, and while I was shaking off the rain, I was greeted by my neighbor K, the young man who doesn't know he's famous on the web for not mowing my lawn. He's working at WD now, although I couldn't tell at first because his WD uniform was covered by his jacket. As I congratulated him on the new career, I wished him not to get too wet retrieving carts.

"Oh," he said, "I'm not going out."

I thought about the chasm between his work ethic and that of the young woman who was still dashing around out in the parking lot. K's a nice kid, but a lazy one, and I don't expect to see him at WD too much longer. We'll see, though. (And it could be he's training and so strictly bagging today. Maybe I just misunderstood his comment. Maybe.)

I had just enough time to load up on Diet Pepsi from the display in front and find a 4-banana bunch (enough for me to eat before they start turning a most unpleasant squishy brown) before the lights went out. Pitch black, but only for about 5 or 6 seconds. Then the emergency generators kicked in, and all of us went back to what we were doing, but now in lighting suited more to romantic dining than price comparing. A man, a fellow shopper, affected an announcer's voice and said, "Attention all shoppers! Attention all shoppers! The cameras are not operational! It's free-for-all time!"

For the next 20 minutes, I maneuvered through the store, reading labels when necessary by finding the closest available pool of light. I followed my list 100% and bought everything on it and nothing more, except that, faced with the possibility that K might be my bagger, I decided against buying the one rather personal item on my list. I got over squeamishness about such things decades ago, but then my neighbor kid never bagged my groceries before.

As I reached the cash register, the electricity returned, and K was nowhere around. (Break time?) The rain had tapered off to about a 1, so I loaded up the goods without drama.

I ran another quick errand on the way home, one that took me past a fundamentalist church whose sign offered this message:

How would Jesus vote?
Vote on Tuesday.

Well, I think Jesus would vote to end all the things that make people suffer so: the death and destruction of war, hatin' on the gays, poverty, the refusal to look at potential solutions for the seriously ill, etc. etc.

But I suspect that was not the answer the questioner was looking for.

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