I hate shopping.
When I shop, I usually have one or two things in mind as I cross the threshold of the store. I also have a strategy for retrieving those things and getting out alive.
After navigating my way to the aisle where whatever I’m looking for sits,
I usually try to pick it up, head to the front, check out and return to the safety of my truck as quickly as possible.
On a good day, I try to keep the time between my entrance and my exit of the store to just less than four seconds.
Occasionally, however, I like to find a bench to sit on and people watch for a while.
Sometimes this yields some interesting results.
I’ve seen children laughing gleefully while playing with the new toy they earned because they behaved in the store. I’ve seen their mothers, whose expressions generally convey the child barely met the requirement for the reward and probably wouldn’t have if she knew about the Nerf missile stuck in her hair.
Sometimes an old man, who’s usually wearing overalls, will find his way to the bench I’m sitting on, plop down and introduce himself.
He’ll usually tell me he’s waiting on Betty, who he married in 1959 when she was 16 and his whiskers were still coming in full.
I’ll hear how she gave him three children, and raised them by herself while he did two tours in the jungle for Uncle Sam.
He’d kept his head down and been lucky enough to come home to her.
She was pretty then, and she’s prettier now.
“See,” he almost yells, while Betty shuffles toward the bench asking where she parked their car.
He’ll say something under his breath about how there’s always too much in the buggy and too little in his wallet when they leave, and I’ll laugh as he takes her by the hand and helps her to the door.
Today was not one of those days. Today, I was a shopper. I made it out of the store, but there was a harrowing moment when I thought I may not.
I’d been in the store about one second or so. I was moving smoothly toward my target when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a lady.
She didn’t spot me.
Her buggy and my body appeared destined to meet in a horrendous crash, which might have sent me sprawling into a rack of T-shirts with “I Wear My Heart on My Sleeve” written on them.
I sidestepped the buggy at the last possible instant, and only then did I see the reason it had been careening right toward me just moments before.
She was texting.
I’m not sure why she was texting, but I do know I could have been catapulted into a pile of shirts.
I was a little rattled and my four-second shopping limit had expired so I didn’t get any of the things I came for.
I like texting. It’s a valuable form of communication, especially when you aren’t yet prepared to respond to a question or just don’t want to. However, there are some instances when you should simply put down the phone.
Never text and drive. It can wait. It’s not worth what might happen.
Don’t text and buy, either.
Shopping is dangerous enough already.
I hate shopping.