Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Simple Trip to the Grocery Store.

In Case You Were Wondering: An ongoing case study of things that shouldn’t be a big deal, but somehow manage to annoy me to no end.

Chapter 1: A trip to the Grocery Store

Every few months I look into the fridge and realize, “Hey! I need some groceries,” and “Mutated broccoli is fun to watch while it beats up blobbified apples, but corralling it, killing it and disposing of it is a real pain in the butt.” If I could figure out how to keep the light in the fridge turned on with the door closed, I could video the flora death matches and make a few bucks.

Off I Go
Every time I pull into the grocery store parking lot, I get ‘The Fear’. Not the same ‘Fear’ I get from my wife, but a ‘Fear’ nonetheless. I swear that as soon as people get into any parking lot, the side blinders they use to drive down the freeway become #10 welding shades.
This is no ordinary circus. This is a multi-generational extravaganza. The cast of characters in this ballet of bad driving ranges from new licensees, to very old and possibly dead people. I think ‘zombified’ is the correct faux word.
Categorized Inflictors of ‘The Fear’
1) Small ladies driving large SUV’s, full size pick up trucks, and even motor homes. I wince every time I see these people bumping and pushing their monster trucks into parking spaces designed for a Toyota Yaris. Newsflash: If you need a rope ladder to climb into your vehicle, and the seat raised a foot from the floor just so you can see between the dash and the steering wheel – your vehicle is too big for you. Those ‘thingies’ you hit and call speed bumps may actually be people you have run over. You wouldn’t know though because all you can see on your rear view mirror is your backseat or the roof of your vehicle. Newsflash: If you can’t reach the rear view mirror of your vehicle without standing on the seat – your vehicle is too large for you and your little T-Rex arms.
2) Young or new drivers. A little tidbit of knowledge for you: The yellow painted areas on the pavement where people walk across from the store to the parking lot – that is called a ‘cross walk’. It is pretty standard practice to stop at a cross walk when people are crossing at one. Honking your horn, driving through the painted area and flipping people off are not standard operating procedures.
3) Elderly drivers. Driving down the center of the parking aisles while being passed by people pushing shopping carts should be indication enough that you are moving far too slow and annoying other people. And please explain the random stopping and reversing manoeuvre? I have witnessed an elderly woman attempt to park inside a shopping cart coral. She must have thought the covered parking was reserved for her. After several failed attempts, she drove to another parking spot. This being Windsor, I can imagine that small foreign cars were to blame for her inability to wedge her Buick into the cart coral.
4) Other. I become scared whenever I hear the sound of metal and concrete grinding together in a symphony of stupidity. We have all seen or heard this at some point. I refer to this method of parking as ‘Driving by Feel’ or ‘Parking by Sound’. All I can say about these types of drivers is that Darwin was really Wrong.

I am Just Getting Started.
After dodging vehicles in the parking lot, I find myself watching in awe and amazement as some of the brighter people in the store attempt to separate the shopping carts right inside the door of the store. Furiously pulling and jerking at the carts trying to free one of these decrepit left-turning carts from the sea of scrap that has accumulated in the cart area. At the proper (or improper) angle, sometimes the people appear like monkeys in a tree: masturbating furiously, as if their life depended on the outcome. I slowly wade through the mass of retardation, people who can’t separate a cart, people who can’t decide if they want a big cart or a small cart, and other people who just seem to think that at any moment something wonderful will happen to them if they just stand, in the way, of people trying to get their grocery shopping done.
If I have the luck to find a cart that has not been welded to another one, I always enjoy hearing other guys (the monkey guys) try to explain why they cannot free a cart. It is the same excuse that I use when someone asks me to work on their car:” I used to work on the engine of my car, but all these ‘things’ and computers just baffle me now!” or “I used to know how to separate shopping carts, but these new ones must have bigger wheels or something, and you must have to lift them a different way!” Yeah. Okay, dumbass!

Through the Door
Why, why, why do people feel the need to block doors and talk to people about stupid crap? Don’t pretend you don’t know what you are doing! You see us waiting, being patient because you are being a douchebag. And pull up your fat ass kid’s stupid-looking pants!
Three things you can do when you find yourself in this predicament:
Be Canadian and wait patiently.
Kindly ask Douchebag and Fat Family to move their cart.
Be me and just push your way through. No warning. No Regrets. Be sure to tell them ‘Suck my Ass!’ when they bitterly squeal ‘Excuse Me!’ Then call them a Douchebag.

I Know What I Want
Being a guy, I can honestly say that if it involves having to shop, I won’t go unless I know what I need. Shopping is not a sport or activity. If it was, there would be helmets, sticks and a mouth guard involved. Full contact jewellery shopping – Yeah! Bowling for fat people in the aisles – Alright! I go the grocery store because I need food and I know what I want. Get in, get out. Like a cat burglar. But Nooooo! I get stuck behind some 90-year-old Armenian woman who has to pinch, squeeze and fondle every strawberry or string bean. Come on, live a little. Grab the entire quart basket and jam it into you cart.

Welcome to the Deli Counter. We are now serving Number Stupid!
What is so hard about taking a number when you walk up to the deli counter and then waiting until your number is called? I have seen women (I think they were women) actually cry at the deli counter. “I have been waiting longer than that man and you served him first!” Did you take a number? Did you see the little red light clock/counter thing? Did you see anyone else take a number? You don’t deserve deli. You are too stupid to live, let alone enjoy any type of deli. Oh, let me guess: you want fresh bologna? Get out of the store, retard.

Oh the Hopelessness!
Is it inherently difficult to keep your cart on one side or the other of the aisle? Don’t look at me like I’m some rampaging lunatic when I push your cart out of my way. I don’t even say ‘Excuse me’ anymore. There is no point. I will just have to say it again in the next aisle because Navigator-Driving Nancy will not and cannot learn to keep her cart out of the way of others.
Again with people blocking the aisles talking about things that make me want to vomit. Get out of the way! You are ignorant and stupid and I can’t believe you were smart enough to find the grocery store, let alone wander around it unsupervised.

A Horizontal Side Note
I have noticed that ‘large’ people usually never hang around the produce section of the store. Bread, boxed meals and frozen foods – that is where you see the highest concentration of large people and their Amigo Lard Ass Transporters (ALAT for short). I am pretty sure that they purchase things based on the length of time it will take to cook them. Toast is quick. Does it take longer to put Macaroni and Cheese in the microwave or boil water? It is faster in the microwave, but I have to stand up out of my ALAT. For the love of all that is holy, please put all the high starch, fatty, salty pre-made stuff on the higher shelves. The savings in medical costs keeping this stuff out of reach of ALAT people alone would buy books for a few dozen schools every year.
Cell phones? Really? You came here with no list and no clue? Thank you for talking loud enough for everyone to hear you, also. If I have to hear you say ‘snoogums’ or ‘pookie bear’ one more time, I will shove that phone up your ass. That shouldn’t be a problem for you though since it is obvious that your head is nestled up there anyway.

The Finish Line
Does anyone find it disturbing that we are willing to stand in line for a very long time and pay exorbitant sums of our money to do it? It’s much like going to Cedar Point. It costs a lot, you have trip over strollers and stupid people everywhere, but there are no rides (except for the conveyor at the check out – it is actually a lot of fun to ride, but they don’t stand up too well to the weight of someone my size. It was kind of embarrassing waiting for the fire department to arrive and free my coat zipper from the internal workings also).
If one more smiley eighteen-year-old tries to lead me over to the self checkout and starts explaining how this futuristic nonsense works, I swear to something sacred I am going to blow a gasket. ‘Let me help you, Sir!’ It felt like she was leading an old dog into the unknown. Unhand me, you little trollop! I understand your strange machine. I only followed you because I thought it was Lap Dance Day.

Paper or Plastic ?
Has anyone ever said ‘neither?’ I would like something in satin with ruffles if you don’t mind. Put the groceries in a bag, you twit, and never ask me that question again.
I absolutely refuse to bag my own groceries at the checkout. I want the chestily endowed lady to bend over as many times as possible, so me helping limit her bending just isn’t an option.

Run For Your Car
Do I have a target painted on my back? Really, how come I would feel safer tap dancing through a mine field than pushing a cart back to my car? Rear view mirrors don’t lie and if you are physically incapable of rotating your neck fifteen or twenty degrees, then please don’t think doing 6000 rpm neutral drops into reverse is the proper method of exiting a parking spot. And don’t roll down your window and scream at me while I am laying in the fetal position underneath your car hoping all three testicles are still where they are supposed to be.

To Safety
Groceries are loaded, and I have not maimed anyone backing out of my parking spot. Be a dear and get your fat ass and mentally challenged looking kids out of the way. Holy Hell, it’s the same fat ass who kept blocking me in the aisles inside. It must be their mission in life to slow people down. People can’t be that dumb…or can they? Traffic is trying to move, but you just slowly lumber and jiggle your behemoth behind down the center of the parking aisle.
Where is my tack hammer?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back in the Day

Back In the Day

It has come to my attention that the two, possibly three people who read this blog and the crap contained herein and possibly on heroine, who may have interesting things to write about but either don’t:
1) want to write
2) have time to write
3) know how to write – at all!

I want to start a blog where anyone can write in with a quip or query. I have know idea how to do this so don’t get all uppity on me or I will have to get all whacky on your badonkadunk!

The first kick at the can will involve stories from my/our past. Hence the name, ‘Back in the Day.’ Please put on your tinfoil helmets and hit us with a quirky blast from the past. It can have something to do with a blind date where either you or the blind date had horrible gas (and since your date was blind he/she could not see you pointing at the old guy on the other side of the theatre aisle). Maybe it was one of those cutesy things that little kids can only get away with saying. Regret is great thing to, in hindsight, joke about.

Instalment Number 1 – January 7th 2009

There are very few things I regret, as long as alcohol isn’t involved. One of the things I regret is not standing up to a bully when I was in the 4th grade. Let’s call this bully – Dave. Dave was a friend of mine for half of my school life (since grade 2). One day Dave and I were no longer friends. At lunch recess Dave beat the holy hell out of me while everyone drank there Allen’s apple juice and waved there Star Wars lunch pails like Marching flags. At afternoon recess Dave decided he had not finished the job and decided to go for round two. In a spinning vortex of dust and spastically thrown punches I ended up getting Dave in the Mother of all headlocks. If I could hold on for fifteen more minutes I would only have to outrun Dave to the doors and back into class. Unfortunately this was not to be. Dave was a lot bigger than I was and could easily lift me up and fall on me, several times.
I ended up with swollen eyes, a bloody nose, some blood from one of my ears and a ringing sound that lasted for a couple of hours. My teacher sent me to the bathroom to clean up and then to the principal’s office to rat out the other person. I never did rat Dave out. Not out of pride. Simply out of fear. Jungle Gym Justice.
When I got home my mom sent me to my room and demanded that I tell her who I had gotten into a fight with. I knew the school had called her and informed me that I would be dining with the rest of the ‘tards in detention until I fessed up, came clean, joined the system and played ball. I didn’t talk. Even at that age I knew I would be standing before the Man in roughly two hours.
If you have ever been in the same situation you know that the waiting is the worst punishment. Every minute ticked by agonizingly slowly. What would happen? Maybe I should write my will and leave my hockey cards and clean underwear to my brothers. Who would witness my will and would it be legal? Oh God why have you done this to me? I haven’t seen Athens yet and I am only halfway through the latest Hardy Boys book.
I heard the dog bark and the door swing open. My heart raced and I knew I was going to be killed within minutes. I heard a shrill voice instructing my father to deal with his youngest son. I swore I heard her say she wasn’t too old to have another child and she never liked me anyway. Boom boom boom. My heart was jumping through my mouth as my dad trudged up the stairs. I don’t remember the door opening. I just remember levitating down to the basement and standing in front of dad’s office desk. I do remember his door closing and me thinking that I had had a good run. Nine years wasn’t too bad. Dad’s heavy breathing and squeaky chair brought me back to reality.
Knowing that flames and death rays were going to shoot out from his face I braced myself and made peace with the gods.
‘Your mother is very upset with you right now!’ he said calmly. I opened my eyes and I wasn’t being destroyed by death rays OR fire. ‘She wants you to tell the principal who beat you up.’ I tried to clarify that I had been in a fight and not just ‘beaten up’. His voice went a little deeper and he said, ‘by the looks of you, I figured you got jumped. But if you say it was a fight you were in then it was a fight.’ ‘Did you at least win the fight?’ he asked me solemnly. For reasons still not known I broke down. Gasping for air and an answer I said “No. I didn’t win either fight.’ His chair tilted forward and I was told to stop crying. He leaned back in his chair and began to talk. ‘I understand why you won’t tell us who you got into a fight with. I wouldn’t tell either if I was you. I will inform the principal that you won’t tell and I think you only deserve a few days detention. I do suggest that you take care of things yourself or whoever you have been fighting with will keep coming after you. Go upstairs and eat dinner.’
I walked upstairs and sat at the dinner table. Dad walked in about three steps behind me. Mom started in on me and was quickly told to let it go by dad.

I spent three lunch hours in the hooskow with the bad elements of D.M Eagle Public School. Nose-pickers. Biters. Ankle kickers. Nut kickers. Biting nut kickers! Three days of retards and bullies. That will teach me a lesson.

The next few months were spent looking behind me. Pushes into lockers, punches through crowds the same sort of behaviour dad had warned me about. It got really bad when Dave’s cronies began taking shots at me. Funny thing about guys who want to be tough – they never think about tomorrow.
We all used to play hockey together on Saturday mornings. Dave was a puck hog and wasn’t a very good skater. His cronies weren’t blessed with the ability to skate very well either. Now was my time to shine. I didn’t take Dave out; I worked on his cronies and slowly showed them that I could pick them apart. After a few weeks of hockey the cronies left me alone and Dave’s attacks dissipated. I still remember waiting for the next attack that never came.
Years went by and we all hung out with new friends and did different things.
I got shipped off to a Catholic high school for grade 9 and 10. I hated the place but I made some friends. I don’t remember what year it was but Dave showed up at the same high school. He was dressed up like a punk rocker. He was possibly only an inch or two taller than me now and he had the physique of a fat ass baseball player, minus any biceps.
Dave still had a big mouth and I watched several times as he got his ass kicked by multiple city kids. I remember he looked at me once while he was getting his ass whooped. He wanted my help, like we were still old buddies. I wouldn’t help him. I was mad that every time there was a fight it ended up being a brawl. I so badly wanted to kick his ass that I refused to help him, gain his trust, and kick his ass when he was vulnerable.

A few weeks after his arrival, Dave was gone. Transferred to another high school.

Thirty years later I still dream of the day I see Dave again. There he is in the grocery store minding his own business. KRACCK! I kick his mop out from under him. BANG! The sound of his head bouncing off his wheeled mop bucket as I shame him with his mop and mop like cleaning accessories. ‘Remember me douche bag!’ I scream as I chase him around the produce section with his dust pan.

I don’t know what became of Dave and frankly I don’t care. I can thank him for helping teach me to stick up for myself. I can probably despise him for turning me into a bully when I was physically capable of it. The only thing I do know is I wish I had stood up to Dave. Actually gone after him until he was tired of getting into fights with me. I wish I had tagged him every opportunity I had to let him know that I wasn’t afraid of him and I was/am stupid enough to keep coming after him. Bullies aren’t bad. Bullies are bullies. I think they actually do some good. Given the chance they can teach the rest of us to stand up for ourselves-which in itself is pure pride.

That is the first ‘Back in the Day’ quip. If you have a story to tell please send it to me. I will post it without your name if you like.