Confessions of a People Watcher, Issue #7: Value People at The Value Mart

“Today, I saw a man with no neck and a woman with no ankles; I think the gap makes itself sometimes.” 

-Me talking to myself last week

 

Avoiding public places altogether isn’t achievable if you want to stay healthy, at least as far as food is concerned. Of course, there are services now that provide the ingredients to cook healthy meals, but statistics show that hermits don’t like meeting you at the door to sign for their packages. Footing the bill for this expensive luxury is something you and I simply cannot afford, either (unless you’re rich and a shut-in).

In that case, contact me. We have many things to discuss.

If not, you often times find yourself in a grocery store with a long list in your hand (or maybe you’re a rebel and go without one), buying to your stomach desires. Either way, we all have to go as adults.

The following is a memoir of certain events that may or may not have happened during such a visit to my own grocery store.

You be the judge.

So I’m walking into the store, ready to get some grub for the week. I don’t have any physical money on me because I’m a responsible adult with a credit card, and money is too easily stolen, often times never making it back to the victim. These cards are able to be cancelled and regulated. The same couldn’t be said for the value of the physical money that idly enters and exits the old billfold from time to time. On a side note, how odd would it be if money were that heavily regulated?

Can you imagine buying drugs off the street under such conditions?

Imagine a random college kid getting a call from the cops early one afternoon:

Yeah, Eric? Listen, we got a call from the IRS saying you were registering an exchanged amount for ten dollars down on Cedar again. Is this true?

At this point, Eric’s all panicky because he forgot to try and file that under a miscellaneous address instead of using the autofill feature on his phone.

“Uh, no officer,” Eric says, obvious fear wrapped in his voice, “I don’t know anything about that.”

Right, okay, we also have you on drone camera and we ID’d you going into that house—you know, the one we popped you for buying pot from last week—and you walked out twenty minutes later with ten dollars less registered on you than when you walked in.

“We’d just like to get your confirmation of the crime over the phone so we can go ahead and put out a warrant for you, m’kay.  B-better yet, Eric, just come on down to the station and we’ll get you checked in for the fine, m’kay buddy.”

Yupp, the future’s going to be a nightmare.

But I’m getting side-tracked.

It’s a ritual of mine to always visit the produce section before getting everything else. Something about being surrounded by open, unadulterated fruits and veggies gives me a craving for healthier food. Surely that’s not too much to ask when going grocery shopping, right? I mean, it’s one of the few lengths I take to stay healthy, but unbeknownst to me, terror lurked around the corner.

Behold! The coughing woman!

The season is upon us, ladies and germs. The one where stocking up on NyQuil, allergy meds, & lozenges is essential, but I don’t think this woman (she had to be in her early to late thirties) had gotten such a memo in all her years living in this little corner of the world.

I, the innocent passerby, was scouting to bag my limit on some honeycrisps, arguably the most delicious apple in the world, when I didn’t see her; I heard her. I can understand an itchy throat. I have that nine out of ten days during allergy season, but that had been the shopping trip to stock up on my own lozenges.

In short, I couldn’t offer her one. I wasn’t upset because it would have been the right thing to do— dealing a dying cat a bop on the head to put it out of it’s misery— no, after the dozenth time, I simply wanted her to stop donating lung tissue in the produce section.

I know what you may be thinking: ‘She’s probably from a dry region and didn’t account for lozenge season.’

I have a counterargument.

I’m from a western region of Tennessee (the accent is strong with this one), so I’m fairly good at recognizing the accent when I hear one. She was definitely a fellow southerner; she had the ‘twang’ cranked up to an eleven.

Moral of the story: Don’t leave home without your lozenges, kids. You never know when you’ll have to pretend to be nice to someone so hundreds of pieces of food aren’t tainted by Cough Drop‘s croaking symphony. I bailed but didn’t for the honeycrisps.

I got them pre-bagged for… well… reasons. *cough**cough*

If you’re a shut-in like me, there’s a good chance your analytical skill is kicked into overdrive twelve out of ten times during pretty much all of the time. Being over-analytical can make for a bad outing if the first part of your experience being in the near vicinity of other people is disruptive to your psyche.

Take Cough Drop, for example. I won’t go too far into that again, but it’s something that does happen. It makes the food taste like flem and the appetites all but implode.

I won’t cry over it anymore.

And, I can’t think of a way to transition into the next segment so we’re going headfirst, no floaties. A few aisles over, I spotted an elderly man and woman. I promise I’m not bashing them. On the contrary, I’m thankful for them; they provided conversation material that’s engaging and fun. The kind of conversations that people like myself have with myself (or with my close family when having our quarterly visits with one other.)

These two would put any soundcloud rapper, young men with obscene amounts of tattoos on their bodies, to shame. He was wearing mandles, she, uggs. His hair was longer than hers and the dense purple under hers eyes told me she always a) was up for a party, and b) always had her bags packed for the next motorcycle trip. Good for them.

The next aisle over was someone I will make fun of.

In the infamous words of some eyewitness to a murder taking his new position in a court too seriously: “Lemme paint the scene for’ya.”

I was walking towards this woman and, for the life of me, couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Beautiful, she was not (well, maybe to someone). What caught my attention were her eighties hoop earrings from the other end of what was easily a twenty-five yard aisle.

You should know that I have gnarly prescription glasses, but those babies could have signaled a rescue chopper in some weird, hypothetical situation where we both ended up trapped in the Canadian wilderness.

Why Canadian? Because it’s my hypothetical, and I’ll tell it how I want.

The next two things were noticed in this order: 1) the base coat of makeup on her face looked like a mold to cast for facial reconstruction after a horrible accident, God forbid, and 2) She was wearing a graphic tee that simply said—albeit, very tasteful in its concise wording, but added weight on her ankle in my ocean of judgement nonetheless— ‘Mom Life.’

I understand the cute nature of these types of things, but sometimes they make me shudder, especially when given the other elements involved. It just keeps me thinking that anyone caught up with such self-appointed (-afflicted, to some) titles are likely to be caught up in other, pointless titles. This is what’s called being entitle; that’s no bueno.

If you’re thinking in her defense, you should know she had a hairdresser’s build (short, plump, and full of unnecessary attitude in her walk), was smacking tirelessly on a piece of gum or plastic or something she found in her purse, and gossiping on the phone about how her friend was cheating on her husband.

I wouldn’t call that eavesdropping. Eavesdropping takes effort on the listener’s part.

She made it too easy.

But, she wasn’t the only one I was eavesdropping on. I have to admit, this next one made it exponentially more difficult to follow what they were saying, but this guy was yelling, loudly.

Somewhere in the meat department, a young couple with an infant in their buggy came around the corner. I saw them, but they could have easily snuck up on me from the front and ended me right then and there because of the strange noise emitting from just behind them.

The noise was so odd; it piqued my interest.

Now, unless you live under a rock, there’s a good chance you’ve heard someone speak a foreign language in the past, typically to someone else whose foreign, but my friends and readers, you have not lived until you’ve witnessed a toddler from another country yelling obscenities, or at least what sounded like obscenities,  at the top of his lungs in his native language.

This kid was the best part of my entire shopping experience.

And I don’t want you to think he was just shouting either. No, that’s just how he decided to enter every single aisle in the store: like a renegade, balls-to-the-wall badass going aggro in some kind of weird, South-African child soldier scenario.

I imagined in his mind he was saving quite a few refugees, and what’s better is that his dad, contrary to what most dads might do, encouraged his behavior while also asking him to quieten it down a bit.

Kudos, dad.

He sang, he asked his parents questions, and he gave war cries, all in another language. It was precious. It made all the other encounters of the day bearable and small by comparison.

Mom Life and Cough Drop have nothing on little foreign Rambo.

 

 

Dear reader,

Thank you for your ongoing support this week. I hope you enjoyed my grocery shopping experience. I looked forward to reporting about my first college class in the next issue.

I normally wouldn’t plug a link to any of these posts however, there is a book giveaway currently taking place on my Facebook page. If you’re interested or know someone who might want to enter, go check it out.

Link is right… here.

Until next time, dear reader.

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