I’m a huge fan of the self-checkout option at grocery stores. True, it minimizes the chance I’m going to interact with someone and get a story out of it—which is basically what I live for in public—but the time I get back by using the self-checkout is often worth the trade-off. The truth is, I’m much more efficient at scanning my own groceries than some dead-eyed high school junior.
But today when I ran into Giant to get medicine for Robert and beer for me, the self checkout line was 10 deep, so I rolled the dice and went to a standard checkout line.
There was only one person ahead of me, a gentleman who looked old enough to have voted for FDR. The only thing on the conveyor belt was two zucchinis and a magnum bottle of white wine.
The man paid for his bounty with a $100 bill, and as the dead-eyed high school junior struggled to count out his change, the old man squinted at the register.
“Hold on a minute,” he said, “I’m not paying $82 for those three things.”
“I’m sorry?” said the angsty teen.
The man repeated himself. No way in hell was he going to pay $82 for a bottle of wine and some vegetables.
“Sir, that’s your CHANGE.”
That’s when the woman behind me piped up. She was closer to the man’s age than mine, wearing a pink sweatshirt with a fuzzy cat on the front.
“I thought you were saying that’s your AGE,” she said to the man.
He chuckled. “That would make me a youngster. I’m 90.”
“My mother’s friend is your age,” she said. Are you looking for another wife?”
Woah, hold on there Patti Stanger. Do you mind if I get my Children’s Motrin and IPAs before we start pairing up like it’s Homecoming?
The man smiled and shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. I’ve been married twice before. I’m afraid I’m not very good at it.”
The woman stepped closer, and now I was standing directly between them. “Ah, it wouldn’t be that bad. She would just lay there for you.”
At this point I’d shown I was passively listening by wearing one of those bemused smiles, but at the visual of this man—who’d probably strapped his schoolbooks together with a belt—humping a corpse, I couldn’t contain myself.
“Jesus!” I said.
It was so shocking, even the dead-eyed checker flashed a grin. That’s probably the most he’s emoted since he binged 12 hours of fail videos on Tik Tok.
The woman shrank a bit. “Oops, did I say too much? I’m always doing that.”
“No please, say more,” I said. “This is way more entertaining than the self-checkout line.”