Perhaps – if I can avoid illness, venomous snakes and stepping in front of a bus – I’ll live long enough to be a very old person.
And if I should reach that milestone (for the purposes of this column, I’ll define “very old” as 90), I vow to get my ass out of the checkout line as quickly as possible when I’m at the supermarket.
Let me explain.
I understand that many very old people are slow, and therefore it takes them a while to get up enough momentum to gather speed. That’s absolutely fine.
I have no problem walking behind a very old person, because, darn it, they’re very old and should be congratulated for still getting out there and being active Sure, there have been times I’ve wanted to leap over them gymnastics style, but I don’t.
I’m a good person and good people don’t leap over very old people unless it’s absolutely necessary.
However, I do have a major issue with supermarket check writers and – I hate to stereotype here – every one I’ve encountered in recent years fall into the very old range.
This is the kind of slow I simply cannot abide.
Yesterday, for example, I made a quick trip to the store to get a handful of items. I won’t name the store, other than to say it sounds like Publix.
So I grab my items (bananas, dog treats, baby bella mushrooms, table tennis balls, rubber dinosaur toy) and get in the aisle that has only one person in front of me.
That person was a very old woman, I’d guess between the age of 90 and 137, dressed smartly in a long sleeve white shirt, black pants and those weird looking black shoes that I always thought would be perfect for kicking field goals (if straight-on field goals was still a thing).
The best part, though, was her shopping basket had only eggs, milk, a loaf of bread and baby powder.
(I like to guess what people do with their groceries and, in this case, I assume she wanted to make sure her butt was cool and dry while she made French Toast).
She was a check writer.
While most of us cool kids use either a credit or debit card for purchases, this very old person did not.
“That’ll be $12.54,” the cashier said.
“Oh … alright dear,” said the woman, reaching into her giant purse.
She carefully fingered through its contents before pulling out a billfold, and after slowly opening the billfold and laying it near the unused credit/debit card swipe terminal, she produced a checkbook.
Her next fishing trip into the bowels of the purse resulted in a ballpoint pen, which she grasped in her left hand while sliding the purse over with her right.
Next, she cracked open the checkbook – again very, very slowly, as if to raise the lid of a vampire’s coffin at twilight – and prepared to put pen to check.
“Who do I make the check out to?” she asked.
“Just make it out to the supermarket that sounds like Publix,” the cashier said.
“How much is it again?”
“You said $12.54?”
“The baby powder is expensive.”
“Yes ma’am, I guess it is.”
“It’s worth it, though, to keep my butt dry.”
Now this ordeal is bad enough, but supermarket check writers don’t just write checks, they also record the transaction right there on the spot.
So by now the milk has curdled, the bread is molded and the eggs have gone bad, but the very old person is still writing away, making sure to add $12.54 for “groceries” on the line below the $169.95 for “Willie G Skull LED Fuel Gauge” she spent at the Harley dealership.
I’m convinced that by the time she had grabbed her plastic bag of groceries and set out for her bike, the woman I saw come in earlier with the baby in the stroller left with a kid sporting a pornstache and bad attitude.
Now to be completely clear, I love very old people … I truly do. I’m advancing in age myself, and I pray that when I get to the stage where I wear pants up to my teats, younger people will take that into consideration before they trample me.
However, even if I make it to 90, I vow to always go the debit or credit route when checking out at a grocery store that sounds like Publix.
Life’s too short, and none of us are getting any younger.