Sunday, July 20, 2008

return to blogging & tales of the co-op

It has been brought to my attention that I have not posted a blog since May. Some have rubbed this in my face by bragging that they are "winning the blog post race." I can't really pinpoint any particular reason as to why I have not been posting blogs other than the fact that I just feel "blah." I couldn't find any other word that more accurately describes my current state of affairs than "blah." I love to write. Any kind of writing, except poetry. That's not my thing...that's Dave Segedy's thing. But I haven't felt any desirous need to write or when I do write I'm not passionate about it. I guess that's what they would call "writer's block," but I think what I'm suffering from is "life block." This happens to me quite a bit and I pop out of it like Punxsutawney Phil on February 2nd, but it's taking a bit longer than usual this time around.

Anyways, a friend told me that I should start writing again regardless of how I feel when I'm writing or how I feel about what I'm writing just to force myself to get back with the program, so that's what I'm going to try and do. Also, I have to write another blog where I am representing other ladies and if I do poorly there's no telling what they'll do.

So, I work at Bloomingfood's every once in a while when they're in a cooperative crunch and need someone to scan multiple fair trade items and spew out PLU numbers like a Russian Mathematician. While working yesterday, I had a customer come through my line purchasing a big jug of strawberry milk yogurt. I went through my usual shpeal.

"Do you have a member number?"
"Nope, but I'm a very old man. Does that get me anywhere?"
"Sure does. You get a 5% discount on your purchase, all day, every day."

The man didn't appear to care about the 5% discount. He was on a mission. A mission to use a "good line" or so he thought. It was as though he had been waiting his whole life to become an elderly man so that he could use such a "joke."

"They say you are whatcha eat," he said, hardly able to contain himself.
"Uhh, I'm sorry?" I responded, wondering where this came from & where he was going with it.
"Ya'are whatcha eat. That's what they always say. What'd I eat to get to be a very old man?" He responded to my puzzled tone & bewildered expression, disappointed that I didn't feed into his punchline by initially responding, "Well, what'd you eat to get to be very old?"

I stuck to my routine, even though I was a bit distracted by my mind trying to figure out what in the world this all meant.
"Here's your receipt, sir," leaving in the dust anything involving colloquial aphorisms.
"Thank ya very much."
"Oh, you're welcome."

What does that mean? What did I eat to become a very old man? A friend suggested that perhaps he ate a very old man. That makes the most sense, and if you look at it literally, and even figuratively, that might be the only way that it makes sense. When I think about this aphorism, I think that it tries to express something more about the individual's personality. You see someone eating an apple, you think, "Oh, they must be sweet, because an apple's sweet & they say you are what you eat!" Or, "Wait, he eats unsweetened chocolate? That's so bitter! He must be resentful about something because you know what they say...you are what you eat!" But this man took the phrase and applied to a whole new characteristic realm. Does that mean that if you eat old stale bread or drink expired orange juice that you will become old? Doesn't everyone become old regardless of what one might consume? I'm still confused.

To make this customer/employee exchange even more of a labyrinth, the manager of cheeses & other products was behind me filling out some forms. He mistook the man to be saying "dirty" instead of "very" old man, which would alter things immensely.

"I'm a dirty old man, does that get me anywhere?"
"They say you are whatcha eat, so what'd I eat to become a dirty old man?"

Mike turned around right after I said, "you're welcome" to the "dirty" old man and in a fit of disgust said, "Yea, you're welcome...to not have to continue to ring up his or anyone else's groceries if they every say something like that to you again. And I'm serious."

At first I giggled, because that is my initial reaction to anything in life. But then I became even more confused because I didn't understand why Mike was so upset about the man proposing that he ate an old man or some old food product to become old, since you are what you eat. I thought about clearing things up so that Mike wouldn't be so worked up, but I think he soon forgot about it so I just let it go. I still had to figure out what in the world just happened with the customer now that I figured out why Mike was so pissed.

This experience got me thinking about another good grocery moment that I had about 2 weeks ago. It was Customer Appreciation Day and the store was a maniacal mess of hipsters, heath-conscious, and herbal zealots all trying to make a purchase of $50 or more in order to get a free light bulb.* I was a scanning fool with my trusty bag man Scott by my side. He was amazing. Anyways, this elderly woman comes up to my register and very sweetly & ever so gently looked at me, reached her hand out to hold mine and calmy said, "You're out of time."

"What?!" I responded, flabbergasted that the Grim Reaper manifested itself in the form of a kindly senior citizen supporting her local growers guild. I thought to myself, why on earth would God choose today, of all days, to take me home? It's Customer Appreciation Day! Doesn't he see how insanely busy it is? What will they do without me? Then I thought, waaaait a minute missy, if anyone's out of time it's you. Look at you, you're old. I've got nothin' but time, ya hear?

"THYME," she said slowly & loudly as though how she was speaking it would substitute for spelling it. "Like the spice."

"Ohhhh, we're out of THYME. I get it."



*did you know that those light bulbs that aren't supposed to use up as much energy & are better for the environment contain mercury? I had no idea. So be careful when you dispose of them, even though that will probably be in 9 years since that is their estimated life span, and you (and I) will probably forget about taking cautionary discretion.