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Tuesday, November 26, 2002

So you're me, right? And you have these issues about personal space and being jostled in crowds? Then why the hell do you go to the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving?

I didn't think you'd have a good answer for that one.

At least we're not those two people standing at the entrance to the pasta aisle, catching up on the latest scandal while their carts act as a barricade. I've stood and talked to a friend in the grocery store, too, but it was at seven in the evening on a random Thursday in March, and not at midday on the last Tuesday in November.

Besides, if anyone had wanted to get to the dried fruit area, we would have moved. We were aware of the people around us, and we knew we weren't blocking an entire aisle. There's just no excuse for standing between a bustling multitude and their penne rigate and fusilli spirale (not to mention the jars of chipotle salsa and cans of deviled ham that are in the same aisle).

We're also superior to that woman we keep running into no matter which way we turn. You know, the one on the cell phone. I have nothing against cell phones in general, but they have their place. I don't think they're of any more use to efficient shopping than they are an aid to good driving. I know for a fact that they're slowing this particular person down, to the point where she's been standing in front of the salad dressing for ten minutes.

And she's not even talking about salad dressing on the phone, so what's the point? Why not take it outside, or at least off in the corner by the diet foods? There aren't any big, ravenous crowds in that section today. (The big, ravenous folks are the ones behind us, trying to nudge us out of their way so they can get to the bakery and pick up the pies they ordered.)

It's a good thing we only have a few items on our list, isn't it? It's just too bad they don't open up another checkstand, so we don't have to wait behind the cell phone woman again.


Back yard, garden and house on a hazy November morning.

When we walked into the store (oh, it seems like hours ago), we had to bypass a couple of roadblocks. There was a woman giving away newspapers ("giving away," right) and a girl selling mistletoe. "Maybe later," I told her then, kind of hoping she'd be gone when we came out.

But you and I know we can't resist a kid's sales pitch, and this one's about twelve, the toughest age a girl can be. "Would you like to buy some mistletoe?" she asks again, timidly. How much? "One dollar." We smile at her, but she's too nervous to smile back. She takes the dollar and holds out the tray.

We hadn't noticed her mom standing a few feet away. As we wheel the shopping cart out into the parking lot, the woman quietly says to her child, "See? I told you you just had to be patient."

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