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Not a Bus Story: Baggage Clean-Up, Aisle 11

June 19, 2012

It should be a normal Sunday trip to the stores. With a later start than usual, I’m in a bit of a rush, but I know what grocery shopping after the noon-hour is like on Sundays, so shields are up and defense protocols are in place. The first store, where I buy meat and some produce, has the usuals: ubiquitous Aisle-Hogs, with their meandering cart-maneuvers and sudden stops, and Teaching-Moment-at-Your-Expense Parents, giving in-depth economic lessons to their toddlers in the checkout line while the eight of us standing behind them grow old and decrepit. The second store, a big ole grocery chain, typically involves more dodging and weaving than anything else. A study in efficient checking-off of items with little dilly-dalliance. Until I hit aisle 11, home to candy, crackers and cookies. I love this aisle. Rarely do I buy cookies, but the nostalgia contained in that one section moves me through time on a Chips Ahoy scented breeze. Crackers often make be laugh. I find it hilarious how many ways they re-package a Triscuit in different boxes and different flavors and charge amazing sums. And then candy. I could write volumes on candy alone. I have to move efficiently through that area lest I become lost to a world of Happy Cola and Jolly Ranchers. But today, my aisle 11 reverie is shattered. Smack in front of the extensive Goldfish selection is a couple in mid-fight. They are in their early twenties, if that, and both are shrieking simultaneously. I try to back out of the aisle, but it’s like a tractor-beam of angst has me trapped and I continue forward, closer and closer. She is now unloading a truckload of past history on him and he’s swatting at each dredged memory like a badminton player trying to hit cannonballs. Using their horror show like a slingshot, I shoot past them, grab a bag of gummy bears, and dive into aisle 12. If only they would just shut up and look where they are standing. Anger and mistrust don’t stand a chance when faced with iced oatmeal cookies and Red Vines.

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