August 16, 2009

Every. Time.

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:25 pm by Iain

I have this reaccuring nightmare. It haunts me, reaccuringly.

It all starts out under the sickening florescence of a generic small-town Fareway. They’re busy today, as am I, for I have just finished shopping; the cart before me strains under the weight of my groceries. I approach the endearingly dirty check-out counter area and take my place at the back of a line.

“I can help you over here, sir!” A blond-haired cashier vies for my patronage just down the way.

I smile at the cashier graciously, but gesture forward to my fellow linemates out of courtesy. None move.

“Just right over here, sir,” she cossets so nicely, awaiting  my business at  counter number 5.

The dream reorients. The rest of the store fades to nothingness, while the slightly yellowed counter grows to encompass the entire space.

I wheel my cart over and smile a second, hesitant smile. The cashier only looks downward, expressing her desire to begin scanning.

“Paper or plastic sir?”

I smirk to myself. Finally. I have been crafting my rejoinder to this question for the entire trip. I assume my most dramatic pose, “Actually,” I reply with a rakish grin, “no bags please, I have my…have my…”

That’s when I see them. Thousands of them.

Thousands upon thousands of carry-out baggers, completely surrounding check-out counter number 5. They look at me expectantly with their impossibly helpful smile, with their impossibly white uniforms, standing impossibly straight, ready for my every need. “What was that sir, you trailed off there!” they cry in unison.

I wince sickeningly, the color drains completely from my face. Excruiatingly, I begin again, in clipped monotone:

“I said, ‘Actually, no bags please,'” The last four words come out as practically a whisper, “‘…I…have…my…own.'”

The baggers stagger under the immensity of my words as their frenzied glee begins to fade, one by one.

The brilliant light of tangible work ethic that illuminates their eyes is snuffed out, swiftly, ignominiously. Their bodies, previously brimming with the desire to serve, slowly shrivel into small, enervated husks. And the feverish intensity that so characterizes the actions of every carry-out bagger, is instead replaced with the depressed and unavoidable torpor of a man who has just lost his will to live.

“I…see,” they reply. “Well if that’s the case sir, then I guess, I guess we’ll just move along then.”

With that the baggers trudge away. Their collective masculinity crushed, their vitality sapped, and their strength forever gone.

I am the worst person ever.


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