Friday, May 13, 2005


Last night at the supermarket, once I had collected my choice of groceries from the shelves, I took my trolley up to the checkout and added myself to the end of the queue. While I was wondering if any of the magazines were worth flipping through, the trolley in front of me moved forward fractionally, and another trolley that had been lurking somewhere on the opposite side of the aisle lurched forward and inserted itself between me and the one in front of me.

I looked up and smiled. "Sorry, were you in this line?"

Man, they were loathsome. There were two of them, presumably husband and wife, 20-something, buffed, gelled, coordinated and pretty. I'd noticed them a few moments earlier, having one of those we're-young-and-in-love kissy moments next to a display stand of cornflakes. They were both wearing green; not matching shades of green, but matching tones of green.

No doubt they were lovely people, but, like I said, they were loathsome.

"Yes, we were," replied the husband, with a sunny white smile.

I couldn't help it. It happened so fast that I didn't even have time to lower my own smile. "Well, it would help if you were, you know, actually in the line."

"We were just leaving space for other people to get through the aisle," they both protested. I think one actually finished the other's sentence. How adorable.

At this point, I had two options. I could argue that if they had placed themselves where I was, they would have obviously been in the line and left space for people to get past... thus marking myself as the sort of loser who agonises over the proper spacing and placement of queues. Or I could just say "Yeah, whatever," and go off to find another queue, thus allowing them the victory of both the queue and the argument. I chose the latter.

Down at the opposite end of the checkouts I found another line and got in it, feeling grumpy. In front of me was a man in his mid-fifties. I gradually became aware that he was talking to the chubby teenaged checkout boy more than people usually do, and when I started paying attention, I became more and more stunned.

"Be careful with those," he said, as the boy put his bananas on the scales.

"Don't do that or you'll break them," he snapped as the boy tried to wave a bag of Flake bars past the scanner.

"Don't put the bread in that bag!" he scolded. "It'll get squashed!"

At first I thought he was the boy's bad-tempered supervisor, giving him a hard time in order to teach him the mysterious ways of the checkout, but it eventually dawned on me that he was just a petulant, peevish old man.

Then it hit me. Sweet merciful crap, I thought. That's me in twenty years' time.

Great. Fantastic. I felt like rolling my eyes heavenward and shouting, "Oh very subtle. You're all-powerful, all-knowing and all-present, and this is your idea of an object lesson in humility? I snap at one happy couple and I get the Ghost of Lifestyle Future? Why not just send down a host of angels with shopping trolleys and get them to ram me all the way out to the carpark? I mean come on!"

Or maybe just a Homeresque, "Why do you mock me O Lord!?" That would have been good and direct, and I could have struck a nice little Catholic martyr pose in the middle of Woolworth's.

Well, one can criticise the Almighty's style, but one can't question its effectiveness. At that moment I wanted nothing more than to run out, find the couple from the previous queue, and apologise for being petty. Mission accomplished, God.

But I didn't. They have each other, their kissy moments, their hair gel and their matching tones. I have a vision to scare me into being nicer to people. I think we can just call it even.


Blogger Laziest Girl said...

Don't you just hate these lessons from God. Why the lessons can't involve a flat white and a nice double chocolate brownie is beyond me. I guess that's why they say that the Lord moves in mysterious ways (as does Bono if I recall correctly).

1:36 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

You're right. It would have been a lot classier if He'd just sent me a double chocolate brownie with the words "Be nice to those smug, colour-coordinated yuppies who look like they should be renovating an apartment on a reality TV show, or suffer the consequences" spelt out in icing on top.

As an added bonus, it would also demonstrate His great affection for me, since the brownie would have to be the size of a sofa cushion to fit all that text on it.

4:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home