Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shopping Cart Dilemmas

Lana:
I chew on a grape, and lick my lips, as the sweet scrumptious flavor bursts into my mouth. I love fruit, and can’t wait to get home and make a yummy fruit salad. I  look down at the bright red strawberries, purple blueberries, orange cantaloupe, and blackberries. I’m so hungry, I could eat all the fruit as I walk to my car. I feel joyful. I picture myself gobbling the fruit salad, and biting into a piece of salmon smothered with mustard sauce and garlic. I love cooking and I love food.  My mom would always say,  “It’s the little things.”

 I push my shopping cart towards my car, as I try to control the urge to devour my groceries before I get home. I open the trunk, and place the groceries in my car, grab one more grape, and look around for the nearest station to return my cart.  I hear something. A buzz. I see a flying insect with a bright yellow jacket  flying around. Oh no, it must smell all the fruit! It lands on the cart. I am petrified of wasps and bees, and am also allergic.

I remember being ten years old, and in camp, when I got stung and had to be sent to the emergency room. My leg blew up, and I had trouble breathing. This awful memory invades my brain and convinces me to leave the cart in the parking spot. There is no way I’m bringing it back.  I hate when people don’t return their carts, and normally get angry. But today I don’t care.  I’m not going to risk my life. I let go of the cart and quickly close the trunk. I  walk around to the drivers side. I open the car door when I hear someone yell, “Hey you!”

Maureen:
What a yucky day.  My son called me to tell me he’s getting divorced. My husband Jack is away on a business trip, and I discovered, with some sleuthing, that his pretty assistant Alexis is with him. I spilled cranberry juice on my brand new white shirt, and feel like I’m getting a cold. And this morning, I stepped barefoot in diarrhea, left from Bailey. I spent an hour before work, cleaning the floor,  and taking him for a long walk to clear his stomach.

Today can’t get any worse. I can’t wait to pick up some groceries, go home, have a glass of wine, and cook a nice meal, for myself.  With Jack away, I can watch whatever show I want.  I can also cook a meal that I like, using ingredients he won’t eat. I’m thinking of eggplant parmigiana, one of my favorites. Jack is lactose intolerant, so this is one meal I haven’t made in a long time.

 As I pull into the parking lot, I see several carts haphazardly left in various spots. Every spot I want to park in has a cart. This pisses me off. What the hell is wrong with people?  I don’t need this crap today.   I see a very fit, healthy looking woman in her thirties, empty her cart, and leave it in a spot, as she is about to get in her car. And she seems in a rush. Probably to go home to her perfect house, with her perfect husband, perfect children, and perfect dog with a perfect digestive system. Ugh!  I’m mad. I think of my miserable life. She can’t walk back to return her damn cart? I speed up behind her car, almost hitting the cart, and  run out of my car , yelling, “Hey you!”

Lana:
I look up, as this car pulls up behind me. A crazy looking woman with wild red hair, runs out, her finger in the air. Her eyes bulge as she screams at me, “You better not leave your cart here!”

I look around, in a bit of shock. Is she yelling at me?  Does she have a gun? Does she not realize, I may get stung any minute?  I’m in such shock,  I just stare at her, and also at the flying yellow jacket, which is now getting closer.


Maureen:
Why is this rude, privileged woman staring at me?  Like I’m doing something wrong?  This day is awful.  “Are you really too damn lazy to put your stupid cart back?” I am screaming like a lunatic.  

Lana:
I don’t know if I should be more scared of the wasp or of this crazy woman.  Shit, there is the wasp.  It’s getting closer. Oh God, oh no, please don’t sting me. I start flinging my arms and swatting at it.

Maureen:
Oh man, is she having a seizure? Why is she swinging her arms and looking scared to death? Oh man, if she has a heart attack, I’ll feel so guilty. Now, she is running in the opposite direction, flailing her arms. What is wrong with her?  What is wrong with me for yelling at a perfect stranger who obviously has some severe psychological disorder?  Oh man,  I should just go home, mind my own business, and deal with my miserable life.

Lana
I bolt away from this wasp. I sprint, like I’m running a race. After the incident when I was ten years old, I was  given an epipen, which is in my brown purse at home, sitting on the counter. Today I took my black purse and forgot the pen. I can’t get stung!   Damn that stupid lady for yelling at me. There are so many wayward carts, why doesn’t she go after someone else? Plus, she found a good parking spot behind my car.

 I look around. I don’t see the wasp anymore.  The coast is clear. I hope the wasp stings the crazy lady.  I scoot back to my car.  That damned lady is still there. Now, she is putting my cart away. Actually, she is forcefully throwing my cart with the other carts. She is stomping her feet as she walks back to her car. Maybe I can slip into my car quietly, and drive away before she sees me.

Maureen:
I should get free groceries for doing this. Or have that stupid woman pay me. The entitled bitch is returning.  She looks healthy, I’m going to give her a piece of my mind. I’ve had it with people like her.  She’s about to get in her car.  I throw the cart with the others and run back.  “Hey, you! Not so fast missy!”

Lana:
Damn, she saw me. Ugh.  I guess I’ll have to explain myself. I feel something on my arm. I look, and the yellow jacket is sitting on my arm, taunting me. It must have stung me. I push it off and oh fuck, if I got stung I can die!  Oh no! I look around in a panic.

Maureen:
She looks scared again. Good. I was always the one being bullied in grade school. Now, I can be the  tough one. I feel happy for the first time today. I glance at her and she looks strange.  Why is she  holding her throat.  She looks pale.   My shoulders tense, as I feel shaky. What’s going on?

Lana:
Please don’t let me pass out. I don’t want to die.   I look at my arm. It doesn’t look bad.  I’m not breathing properly. Is this a reaction or am I having a panic attack?  The doctor told me just because I had an allergic reaction when I was ten, doesn’t mean I will always get one.  How do I know what this is?  It doesn’t matter, crazy lady is coming over and will probably kill me. My odds aren’t good here.

Maureen:
I don’t feel too good about yelling at this woman right now. What is wrong with me anyway?  I found a parking spot, it’s a beautiful day. I need to lighten up.  I better see if she is okay.  “ Are you ok?” I ask her.

Lana:
She’s being civil to me. I must look like I’m dying.
“ I just got stung by a bee, I mean wasp, yellow jacket, whatever, I don’t know, but I’m allergic and I left my epipen at home, and---”  

Maureen:
Shit.  I don’t know how to handle this.  “Um, oh God, um, should I call 911? Do you live far away?” I ask, looking around, wondering why there is not one other person in this damn parking lot who can help! I take out my phone...

Lana:
I look at my arm.  It looks the same as it did before I got stung. There is no stinger in my arm. Maybe it didn’t really sting me?  I didn’t actually feel the stinging, and I do remember being in a lot of pain when I was ten years old and got stung.  I look at the crazy lady, who looks kind of nice and concerned at the moment, and is asking me if she should call 911. She is taking out her phone.  “No, don’t call 911.  I, I , uh, I may not have really gotten stung. Um, I thought I did. I may be having a panic attack, I---”

Maureen:
Wow, this woman is normal. She gets panic attacks, just like I do. Boy oh boy, did I misjudge her.

“It’s OK. I’m sorry I yelled at you. Just having a bad day and the carts were like the icing on the cake.”

Lana:
She doesn’t look so crazy anymore. I feel a lot better. “It’s alright. I get it. I hate when people leave their carts in spots. I would have put it away, but that stupid yellow jacket freaked me out, and I just wanted to get out of here as quickly as I could.”

Maureen:
She’s so nice.  I almost want to invite her over for eggplant parmigiana and a glass of wine. We can become friends. Boy, do I need friends right now.  I feel like I’m going to burst into tears. What am I thinking?  I need to get out of here. “Well, let me go shopping, take care, and have a good night. See you around.”

Lana:
Now, she looks like she’s going to cry. What a strange day. I just want to go home and eat my fruit.  “Bye, nice meeting you.”

Maureen enters the grocery store, as Lana drives home.

No comments:

Post a Comment