2.11.2010

Urban Etiquette... Chaos Induced Urban Etiquette


okay... more morning rants with coffee
but this morning rant is not getting the glance to see that it makes sense
it is time to start the day

best that my time be spent in the woods on cross country skiies rather than on the ke
yboard
time to roll

Urban Etiquette... Chaos Induced Urban Etiquette


first things first...
let me get this out into the open...
YOU CAN NOT SNAKE A SNAKE!
I have years of getting my quarter further up in the queue in the pool game

I have years of using Jedi Mind Tricks to get onto the ski slopes without a ticket
although those years existed long ago in my misspent youth
those times and their skills are still part of me and who I am
although I am not a snake... I am familiar with the movements of the snake

so...
when someone tries to "snake" me... I usually try and "bust" them
because... no one deserves to get "snaked" and "you can not snake a snake"

the other day I took a glance at the contents of the refrigerator and another glance at the pending weather forecast... the frig was nearly empty... the weather report called for MORE SNOW
it was clear that we would be needing more food to feed the family
it seemed logical to make my approach to the grocery store on foot
no need to be another car clogging up the road

before gathering bags and gear I contacted a friend from down the block to see if he was up for the adventure... he was... as it turns out he needed Dryer Sheets... I think he needed dryer sheets and MIDOL!

Dryer Sheets I thought...
DRYER SHEETS? Is that an essential?
I guess such a need would qualify an individual as being METROSEXUAL or maybe just straight up female
either way... I was pleased to have the company

the march from Mount Pleasant to Columbia Heights was virtually effortless
the footsteps had to weave between shoveled sidewalks to hard packed streets... I was pleased not to get a 500 dollar ticket for walking in the street
the clear paths were one lane wide on the sidewalk which made for a good deal of face to face contact with other adventurers

everyone... just about everyone... was in good spirits
these sort of experiences can really bring people together

lots of jovial exchanges on our walk to another zip code

once at The Giant food store across from The New Target I got to witness that madness first hand
it was low level chaos.. but chaos just the same
the Giant staff was working to stock the shelves as quickly as people could empty them

there were lines from the register stretching all the way to the back of the store
the lines were so thick that it made shopping in these aisles awkward
people were standing where ever they stood
many people blocking the passage of others
a good number of people making the congested situation only that much worse

without a list I guessed at what the family would need
while I guessed at how much I could carry


my partner in crime got his essential dryer sheets and saline solution for his contacts and was ready to move... this all when I had really just started my shop
trying to navigate the unfamiliar grocery store that was at its most mad moment
I asked my friend to take a spot... any spot in any line... while I finished my shopping... where I would then take his place allowing him to leave if he wished

I looped around a few times... only to find that the lines were all so long that my friend had become overwhelmed and was opting to leave rather than wait
it amused me... it amused me in the same way that my children can amuse me
too much thought... not enough action
had his last 10-15 been spent standing in line instead of searching for that perfect line we would have been in a better spot

I teased him for over thinking things
too much thought and not enough action

we took the slot in line where we stood
as our line slowly stepped forward I continued to shop
going through a mental list of what we needed and how much more I could carry
our line was as good as any line

it is best not to sweat what you can not control
these lines were part of the process
my family needed food... to get this food I would have to wait in these lines
there was no abandoning the plan for me

I thought about what ingredients I would need for the chicken curry I was planning to cook that night... a chicken curry that ended up as sausage and scallops curry which allowed that chicken to be cooked into chicken fajitas instead
the line moved slowly... I asked my buddy if he wanted to run to Starbucks for some fuel
he was more apt for holding the line than rushing off to enter another shop with another line

I took to the streets and left off for Starbucks returning with plenty of time to get the sociology of the long lines in the urban grocery store

when we reached the point in the line where there was the gap between the register and the aisle I opted to hang back
leaving a larger space for through traffic
no need to clog things up any further than need be
at this point I instructed my buddy to watch out for slackers trying to snake
I joked that he more than likely had spaced out a few times and already been snaked

sure enough... after a matter of time someone tried to slip through
stepping right in front of us... he obstructed the back that we had been staring at for the last 45 minutes
BUSTED!

Polite... Gentle... and Kind my friend informed the man who had stepped to the front of the line about the length of the line
there was a gesture to the back of the building
this man played dumb... standing around... looking back... pretending to be shocked.. perhaps asking to be invited to step to the front
as he hung around playing dumb I got frustrated by his behavior

so I entered the situation...
I told him I respected him enough to think that he knew about the length of the line
he held his ground playing ignorance... I doubted his ignorance but made mention of his cunning behavior... telling him that I thought he was born in the year of the snake
he took offense

it amuses me when people are knowingly wrong but still take the position of higher moral ground

I continued since he still had not left and he still held his stance of ignorance

without looking at his basket I told him... if I were to survey the contents of your basket I would see that you looped the store
had you looped the store you would have seen that the lines extended to the back of the building
no one is that blind... no one is that dumb

to this he responded... still claiming ignorance... but I am not from this country... I am still trying to figure things out

come on... still trying to play me?
so I continued... I do not know where you are from... but I know they have lines there
lines are no different there than they are here
you must wait your turn

by this time there were some onlooking eyes
I got multiple nods of approval
my intention was not to make a scene... everything was pretty mellow... but it must have been the eye candy of a number of people as there was not much else to entertain their brains

my focus went on to other things...
not sure if this man ever stepped away
then I noticed a few people perched in position to attack

the woman to my right had been in the same slot from some time
looking and waiting... I can only assume that she was waiting for a lapse in focus where she could step forward without waiting in line

there I was... surrounded by a room full of MOTHER FUCKING SNAKES IN THE GROCERY STORE

thing moved fluidly enough
the woman at the register was in a good mood considering the circumstances
when I said NO BAG I got a double raise of the eyebrows
then there was a mention of question that my pack would be able to carry this grocery cart full of supplies
I was not sure... but I knew that we were about to find out

I had loaded the conveyor belt in the order I wanted to load my pack
as the Giant employee started to scan things I rushed to catch up
unzipping my pack so it was fully visible on the inside and I could pack thing in a logical manner

heaviest things at the bottom
flat things against the back
crushables at the top

with the speed that each item was scanned I packed things

as the long paper receipt was printing I zipped up my pack and put the final items into the small bags that were carried within the pack for lighter more crush able items... such as bread... hot dog buns... and microwave popcorn

massive pack on my back and it was back onto the streets to march home
the weight was bearable... but I am not sure I could have carried much more

mission accomplished
the family would have food

Milk and Juice were not purchased...
the heavier things like beer could be picked up at the local corner store
carried for a shorter distance
but this trip... this trip had essentials
various hot dogs and various meats
an assortment of pizza making options
some soups and I forget what else
I grabbed what was in front of me that made sense at the time


1 comment:

Jeff said...

What the fuck are you wearing Joel??? It looks like Superman went to Boulder and threw up on a yeti.