Submitted by megan on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 19:23
Did I mention something a day or two ago about being tired? I didn't know from tired. I'm tired enough now that when I lay down to have a nap this afternoon, I started having weird acid flashbacks from the one time I tried the stuff. During that come down, I couldn't close my eyes because when I did, all these patterns, some organic, some geometric, sometimes a meld of the two, would spin complicated whirligigs across the backs of my eyelids, sometimes in colour, sometimes not.
Trying to nap today was like coming down off a strong drug, though I will wait until I'm less frayed around the edges to write about which one.
After my attempted nap, after a short shift at venus envy, during which I really didn't do very much except stand around a little blurry-like and tell people it was Saturday, I hit the Hartman's. For days, what little of my brain wasn't devoted to thoroughly sinful thoughts of pants removal was devoted to kale. I was missing me some dark greens. And food not fried in oil and slathered in butter.
I knew the Hartman's might be difficult. I could feel that my patience was worn a little thin and that my irritation was about to poke through, and lord knows what may happen at the Hartman's.
But it wasn't busy, so I sailed through, grabbed a big pile of chard instead of the pallid kale they had on offer, some garlic, some olives for snacking. There was only one woman in front of me at the 1 to 8 cash. Perfect.
Of course there's a but.
She couldn't find her money. She had it, of course, look, she'd just been to the ATM, here was the slip, see, she'd just been, and her cards out on the belt, and The Slip and another slip and rooting through one pocket and then another. I felt another thread snap.
But we've all been there, right? I've felt that panic prickling in before. So I took a deep breath, reminded myself that I was overtired and not reacting the way I normally would, and cut her the slack I hoped other people might cut me were I in her position.
And then she touched my chard.
She had plonked her purse down on the belt, where it was blocking the sensor that kept the belt from moving the next order forward. In the course of rooting through it, she kept lifting it up and putting it back down again.
My chard, being used as the order separator since the plastic one was missing, was creeping closer and closer to her purse. I kept moving it back, but then she lifted her purse for longer than I expected and with my reflexes even slower than my fairly slow norm, I missed the boat.
By rights, it is really more fair to say that my chard touched her purse and she brushed it away.
I pulled it back, but I also kept expecting that the other people who had control of this situation might 1) keep their damn purse on the belt if they didn't want strange chard touching it or 2) turn the damn belt off. But they didn't and they didn't, so I pulled the chard back and watched it creep forward until it touched her purse and she brushed it away like a mosquito.
When she showed the bank slip to the stoic cashier for the second time, but with a more frantic note in her voice, I decided that instead of thinking about taking her purse and shaking it out onto the floor, I should probably take my exhausted carcass and its greens to another line.
The wait was a bit longer, but totally worth it. I was next in line. The cashier rang in the olives and the garlic, and I rummaged around in my wallet through what had become a considerable amount of change for the bits that were useful in this country. The cashier went to open a plastic bag to put the garlic in, I went to say "Oh no, thank you, I don't nee-" and dropped my wallet, the change spilling out over the floor.
The other people in line watched me crouch on the floor and try to shovel the coins back in. Trying to be quick was making me clumsy, so I kept dropping them again. I heard the total of the bill waft over the belt. I looked up at the total. It was nearly 10 dollars, which seemed a little high. I looked up one line. Rhubarb. Not chard.
Another thread snapped.
"You charged me 8 dollars for rhubarb," I barked from my crouched position.
She looked down at me like I had just spoken to her in Sumerian. "What?"
I stood up, feeling bad for snapping at her. Not a Big Deal, I breathed. "It's not rhubarb, it's chard. It really does look like rhurbarb, I know, easy mistake," I back-pedalled. "But it's chard."
She looked at me blankly.
I tried to be helpful. "It's like kale," I said. "But umm. Not."
Apparently, this was not helpful. She held it aloft and waved it at the cashier next to her. "What's the code for this?"
I could feel the people behind me start to get tense.
"What is it?" he asked.
"I don't know," she said.
"It's chard," I said.
"It's what?" he asked.
I took another deep breath and hoped the people behind me were cutting me some slack.