Thursday, January 29, 2015

Slow Lane

            “Harold, would you look at that,” said the older woman in line behind me at the store, “they’re still trying to figure out who killed Natalie Woods.”
            “Still,” asked Harold as he placed various packages of sausages on the conveyor belt.
            “I think it was probably that Walken. He’s so creepy,” said the woman.

            She put the tabloid newspaper back on the impulse buy shelf and chuckled.

            “That was so long ago, do they think anyone still really cares,” she asked.
            “I don’t think so,” said Harold.

            I smiled and organized my few items on the conveyor belt. The cashier was slowly ringing up the man in front of me. She was trying to explain the new “convenience” of smart phone coupons to the man but he was clearly not interested.

            “I don’t know why they’re putting all this stuff on computers and phones and such anyway. What if you don’t have a computer or one of them smart phones,” she asked.
            “I don’t know,” said the man in front of me as he swiped his credit card in the card reader.
            “I mean, I still have a land line for my phone and the only reason I have a computer is because my 27 year old son left me his old one before he moved out,” said the cashier.
            “Yeah,” said the man as he bagged up his few items and left.

            The old woman behind me felt like she had to get into this conversation as well. It seemed important to her to get involved.
            “I know what you mean. I don’t even know what the whole smart phone thing is,” said the old lady.

            I moved my few items forward on the belt and the cashier began ringing me up. She looked at me and asked if I wanted the smart phone coupon information. I politely declined, but she handed me the written details anyway.

            “I’m sure you have a smart phone,” said the old woman behind me.
            “I do. But I really don’t use it for coupons,” I said.
            “Did you see they’re still trying to figure out who killed Natalie Woods,” she asked me.
            “I did. I think it was Robert Wagner personally. I think they had an argument and he tossed her overboard,” I said.
            “Oh no, he couldn’t. I think it was that scary Walken guy,” she said.

             I shrugged at her and smiled. I didn’t think a long debate about the murder mystery of Natalie Woods and the merits of electronic coupons in the checkout-line was the right time for it.

            I moved with my items as they were scanned and the old woman, with Harold in tow, kept chatting with the cashier. They then continued to talk about how unfair it was that the coupons wouldn’t be fair for all those people without computers or smart phones. How would they benefit from the discounts if they couldn’t access them? All this technology was just too much these days.

            They both looked at me and I smiled kindly and took out my checkbook. I wrote a check for my few groceries. The look on their faces as I wrote out my check was absolutely priceless. It was something like startled astonishment and mild nostalgia. I started bagging my items myself since there was no bag-person to help.

             “Oh, look at you. You’re hired,” joked the cashier.
            “Oh, well, I just wanted to move it along a little bit,” I smiled.
            “Do you want that stuff double bagged,” she asked.
            “No, no, I can manage, thanks,” I said.

            Harold moved in next to me to start packing his wife’s items, which really did have a lot of sausages. There were Polish sausages, Italian sausages, breakfast sausages, regular pork sausages all massed together and building.

            “Where are all the other bags,” complained Harold, “the big ones?”
            “We just have these,” said the cashier.
            “I thought they used to have the big ones because I can carry more in the big ones better than these little ones,” continued Harold.

            I picked up my three bags and said thank you to the cashier. I walked out to the parking lot, loaded my car and went home.

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