We’re getting another storm. Another storm. Though I think this one will turn to rain along the coast. Eventually. Rain would be a nice change.
Anyway, Tuesday was a beautiful day and I was up early and had a zillion or maybe even two zillion errands to do in town (one of which was to visit the local quilt store to see if they had wide fabric for backing a quilt, which they didn’t, which was sad) and needed to go to the giant supermarket in town. Banjo Man was busy in his office and I volunteered to make the trip. Banjo Man didn’t even flinch, which meant he was really busy.
The giant supermarket was filled with Baby Boomers. I saw one young mother with a happy two-year old in her cart, but the rest of us were over 60, had gray hair and were shopping alone.
The checkout lines were crowded. I was behind a woman with a small amount of items, and she was behind a man who was arguing with the cashier over his gas points and his courtesy card. When it was my turn I put my groceries on the conveyor belt, separated them from my mother’s groceries, and then put my sacked purchases in my shopping cart. Somehow between paying for my food and organizing my mother’s roast chicken, cookies and raisin bread, my cart was moved. The woman bagging the stuff was in deep conversation with the gray-haired woman who had checked out ahead of me. My cart ended up across the aisle, against the wall, being leaned upon by a woman my age.
She was waiting for her friend, the woman chatting merrily with the bagger and blocking my route to my cart. When they finally stopped talking, I gathered the three plastic bags that held my mother’s food and headed over to my cart.
“Excuse me”, I said to the woman leaning on my cart. I put the bags in next to mine.
“What?” She looked as if I had done something illegal.
“Excuse me?” I reached for the handle of the cart. I had a migraine. I wanted to go home.
“But I thought this was my cart!” She looked pretty shocked. She stared at my groceries.
I felt bad for her, so I smiled and said, “I don’t think so.” I pointed out the toilet paper, the bacon, the canned beans, the romaine lettuce, the parmesan. “These are mine.”
“But where is my cart?”
“I don’t know. Do you think someone took it by mistake?” I looked around. She looked around. No cart.
“My purse is in it!” She glared at me, then studied the bags in my cart. She thought I was hiding her purse under the toilet paper, I guess. “Where is my cart? Where is my purse?”
That’s when I realized she thought I had somehow stolen her purse, that I might have been part of a purse-stealing, cart-stealing, food-stealing gypsy grocery gang.
“I don’t know,” I said, trying to sound as sincerely sympathetic as I felt. It would be an awful feeling to lose your cart and your purse in the midst of the grocery story. I would panic, too. I would probably cry. A lot. Once I got over the shock of being robbed by a baby boomer in a supermarket at noon on a Tuesday.
She followed me from one end of the store to the other, where the exit doors were. She wasn’t going to let me get away with the theft, I suppose. We both looked at everyone’s carts, but hers wasn’t there. I wondered if she was going to follow me outside to my car. To where I would meet the “gang” and split up the goodies? Where she would have us all arrested?
Finally, before I hit the “exit only” door, her friend yelled from the far end of the store. “I think I have it! Is this it?”
We both turned, but I couldn’t see anything. The woman-with-the-missing-purse turned and jogged away. I hope her friend was right, and I hope the purse and the groceries and the cart were intact.
I almost turned back to find out, but I decided it was better to escape the drama and head back to the caravan.