I stopped in at a super shopping center the other day, let’s call it “Walmart,” to pick up a loaf of bread. Carrying only the one loaf of bread, I entered the speedy checkout line.
“What a whirlwind day,” you’re probably exclaiming. But wait, the story’s only just begun.
Directly in front of me in the fast lane was an Asian family with *gasp!* more than 20 items in their cart! I think so anyways. I didn’t count, but an elderly woman behind me loudly exposed the criminals.
“Well, somebody can’t count!” the old woman said in such a way as to communicate that she had her hearing aid turned down too low.
Luckily the Asian family couldn’t speak English, presumably. I make this assumption on the basis that had they understood our story’s geriatric vigilante, they would have turned themselves in to the proper authorities. But they didn’t, and I’m sure they heard her.
Playing my role as Unnamed man with loaf of bread, I turned to see what our hero’s next course of action would be. And also to confirm that she was, in fact, speaking about the family in our line, and not tutoring her grandson in math.
“No, no, no you little moron! It’s seven. Five plus two is seven,” she could very well have been planning to say. But, she wasn’t. She was, instead, apparently waiting for me to turn around so that we could share an awkward stare.
I smiled. The kind of smile that says, “Look, I’ve only gone one item! Please don’t loudly embarrass me too.”
In that brief look, I took in a little bit about who this woman was. She was wearing the kind of clothes that gave me the impression she’d been speed-walking, which makes sense. She was obviously the sort of person who’s in a hurry, but too old to run.
You can’t blame her too much, I guess. When you reach a certain age and you know death could be chasing you at every turn, you’ve got to speed-walk and take the express lane everywhere you go. I imagine that when she counted that 21st item, she could feel death breathing down her neck.
I just hope that one day she learns to stop, take a deep breath, and turn her hearing aid up.