I have to say, that as years go, this one is off to a less than stellar start, though it’s better than last year when, on January 2, all of the pipes burst in the middle of the night and there was The First Great Flood of 2016, which was quickly followed by The Cat Bite That Went Septic. The spawn has two broken bones encased in a half-arm cast insufficient to the task of keeping them stable and painless, we have a jackal foster puppy who is now biting us, we have a cannibal hermit crab who ate its friend’s legs, in front of the screaming spawn yesterday, and I’ve got a to-do list that I’m going to throw away and start over because there are least six things are now past the point of doing. And given all of this, I made the questionable decision to go to the Costco today during the free-lunch rush.
Obviously, that was going to end well.
You’ve probably all heard the saga of how I developed a heel spur in August, then fractured said spur in late September doing yoga to stretch the foot. The giant shot of cortisol into the foot did nothing, but the 14 days of oral steroids did greatly lessen my physical pain at the unfortunate cost of everyone else who knows me’s emotional stability. Then I sprained that knee. So walking very far is not possible, and I try to minimize it. Like right before Thanksgiving, when the spawn and I went to the Walmart and I attempted to use a motorized wheelchair while he danced around gleefully pointing and laughing at his disabled mother.
Costco seemed like it was going to be a little much, and it’s cold and damp and my knee is aching, so when I passed the motorized wheelchairs by the front door, I thought “why not?”, flashed my card at the door and began the arduous process of deciding whether or not I needed 16 jars of peanut butter, a 54-pack of white tube socks, enough toilet paper to last a year and so on.
I was happily motoring around when the store began to crowd with the people in the suits who go there for the free lunches. I used to wear work clothes and go out for lunch. But that’s not what this is about. I was zipping around the frozen food aisles, picking up spawn-food (things of questionable nutritional value, mostly containing ingredients that I can pronounce, that he will eat without throwing an epic fit) and looking for things I might like, such as a cheesecake that serves 24 or an entire frozen lamb. And then I heard it.
“Karin, is that you?”
It was loud. It was behind me. The voice was familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Crap! No makeup, crappy handbag, hobo clothes, Love Your Melon – LYM hat and Crocs for heaven’s sake. I could not be seen looking like this. Now, I realize these may be #mainlineproblems but problems they are, indeed, if only in this part of the world. Careful not to move my head or look behind me, I slowly sped up my cart.
“Stop! Stop!” the voice yelled, as if I couldn’t hear her and I wasn’t trying to escape. Leaning forward over the steering wheel, I moved the hand button forward. I think I got it up to about 8 mph, which is pretty fast for one of those things.
“I know it’s you! Would you stop?” Her voice was louder, and I gave her points for persistence.
No, no I will not stop, I thought, as I leaned forward, urging my little go-cart to move even faster as I expertly navigated through the people and displays. It was sort of like Mario Cart on the WiiU, only with real people yelling curses and expensive crap to destroy. I wondered if I owed her money or a kidney or something; I couldn’t think of anyone, spawn included, that I’d chase through a Costco. Then, I saw my opening. I made a hard left down the aisle with the 84-ounce containers of olives and the five-packs of mustard. Hearing nothing, I glanced behind me. She wasn’t there! I slowed down and pulled over to right, hoping to hide out long enough to finish my shopping and escape the store without a social encounter.
But then I got hungry, so I stopped for a snack, still watching vigilantly for the woman who was hunting me. The food was good, but I guess I seemed a little off or much too healthy to the woman in the hair net handing out the goodies because she actually asked me if I needed the cart. I thought briefly about ramming her little station with it, but I just moved along, perusing the snack foods and enormous boxes of candy. Because she did not need smiting, and I did not need a scene. Also, I’m kind. Then I heard it. The voice!
“There you are! Karin. Didn’t you hear me?”
She was right behind me. Oh God.
I don’t even remember pushing the button to move the cart forward or turning the wheel, but the crash echoed through the building and all conversation stopped for a moment while people tried to figure out what had just happened and if the world was ending because our newly elected president had gotten into a Twitter battle with Kanye and Rihanna about the Golden Globes and accidentally nuked the east coast instead of the west. It seemed somehow sadly fitting that I destroyed a display of beauty products given my lack of concern for own beauty that morning.
“Are you okay?” asked Friend from High School. “Didn’t you hear me? What are you doing with that thing?”
Obviously, Friend, I am not okay. I just destroyed 70 million gallons of Oil of Olay with a motorized wheelchair in a Costco on a Thursday afternoon in my failed attempt to avoid contact with you. In fact, if there were not bottles of moisturizer stuck under the wheels of this cart, I’d probably still be trying to flee. Is that your definition of okay? I’m pretty sure this whole thing could be described in the DSM-5 with some little numbers next to it.
“I’m fine. I just didn’t hear you. These carts are so loud! How were your holidays?” I gushed. Because, as the racist midget I sort of dated often pointed out with no small amount of envy, I roll and I blend.
Anyway, it was all for naught because she was perfectly friendly and wanted to know about the spawn’s broken arm and how my leg was doing, and so we chatted over lunch at a picnic table in the Costco, which is exactly how we thought our lives would be when were at the exclusive private prep school down the street many years ago.