Just got back from the semi-monthly re-distribution of my paycheck (Dandy Cleaners, Spec’s, H-E-B; Costco tomorrow). Random things you’d like to say but probably can’t---or at very least, shouldn’t: (Warning: this is as far from politically correct as it gets. But don’t worry, liberals and conservatives, women and men alike should be equally offended. We’re an equal-opportunity operation around here!). (My buddy Keith has a word for what I’ve become: a Crank. I’ve become a Crank in my old age…).
1. Ma’am, here is a handy instruction guide for the operation of your automobile:
- Upon exiting the store, have keys in hand.
- Walk quickly to auto.
- Unlock door (electronic clicker optional but nice)
- Open door.
- Enter auto.
- Close and lock door.
- Insert key (which is still in your hand) into ignition.
- Turn key to start engine.
- Using shift lever, place car in “Reverse”.
- Applying gentle pressure to accelerator pedal, back out of parking place.
- Drive away so THE 90 YEAR OLD LADY WHO HAS BEEN BLOCKING TRAFFIC FOR THE LAST 10 MINUTES WHILE YOU FIDDLED WITH YOUR MAKEUP, YOUR HAIR, YOUR NAILS, BALANCED YOUR CHECKBOOK, REARRANGED THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF YOUR PURSE, CHECKED HAIR/MAKEUP/NAILS IN MIRROR AGAIN, THEN SEARCHED FOR CAR KEYS, THEN FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO OPERATE THE GODDAMN CAR, CAN PARK HER CAR UP NEXT TO THE DOOR, FREEING THE DRIVE LANE FOR THE 20 CARS THAT HAVE STACKED UP BEHIND HER. SHE’S 90. YOU’RE 30. SHE’S ENTITLED. YOU’RE STUPID.
2. Sir, at our store there are four varieties of regular cow’s milk: Whole, 2%, 1%, Skim. There are two brands: Borden’s and H-E-B. The fact that you have stood there staring at the milk (with your buggy blocking the next 3 compartments) for the last 6-7 minutes indicates a rather disturbing lack of decision-making ability on your part. SELECT ONE AND MOVE ON.
3. Ma’am, I’m delighted you’ve found a friend! Would you two ladies kindly take your conversation to the in-store coffee shop AND GET YOUR FREAKING BUGGIES OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE WHEN 20 PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO USE IT?
4. Ma’am, we now have this marvelous, amazing, astonishing invention called the DEBIT CARD. It takes the money RIGHT OUT OF YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT! It’s easy! It’s fun! You simply grasp your card firmly, swipe it through the little swipe thingy, enter your PIN, and –PRESTO!- your groceries are paid for! Accordingly, it’s no longer necessary to stand there while the checker rings up (ancient term) your buggy full of groceries, then have him/her announce the total damage to you, THEN dig in your purse for your checkbook, then dig again for a pen, then open the checkbook, then carefully write in the amount in your check register, then write the actual check, then hand the check to the cashier (who looks at you suspiciously), then fumble in your purse again for your ID, then have the cashier write 20 things on the check, then run it through her machine---TWELVE MEN (and/or intelligent women) COULD HAVE ALREADY CHECKED OUT AND GONE BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT AFRAID TO USE THEIR GODDAMN DEBIT CARDS! Checks have gone the way of the buggy whip…LEARN HOW TO USE TECHNOLOGY AND KEEP UP (if you just MUST keep careful records, the cashier will still hand you a handy RECEIPT showing the total, which you can later enter into your computer. You do have a computer, right?).
5. To anyone for whom English is not your native language: This is America. We speak English here. It’s preferred that we do it QUIETLY and POLITELY. JABBERING IN FARSI, SWAHILI, VIETNAMESE OR ANY OTHER LANGUAGE AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS IS JUST PLAIN RUDE.
6. To all Mommies and Daddies: Yes, your moppets are, in fact, adorable---NOT. The fact that you are used to their screaming does not mean the rest of us are. SHUT THEM THE HELL UP! (My Dad would have worn us out if we’d have acted that way in the store.)
7. Similarly, running up and down the aisles while shrieking is never permissible. It is the grocery store, not the playground.
8. Similarly, the fact that you are BOTH a young family with kiddies AND from somewhere other than here does not mean you should fail to observe our social customs. Repeatedly ramming someone from behind (in the behind) with a shopping cart is unacceptable behavior from shrieking moppets; it is UNFORGIVABLE when it is YOU doing the bumping. It’s called “personal space”, look it up. My personal perimeter is about 4 feet; I realize my posterior is large, but it is not for use as target practice for the bumper car range. Trust me, Amatullah---this is not the bazaar at Mecca. It is H-E-B in Houston. Nobody is going to try to cut in line or steal stuff out of your buggy. It’s ok for you to leave a couple of feet between my behind and your buggy.
9. White dude my age: that T-shirt you’re wearing must have ROCKED in 1984, dude! You were a slender dude with a ‘tude then, weren’t ya? Well, sir, let me tell you, at this point you’re at least 75 - 100 lbs heavier than you were then, and that T-shirt is about 3 sizes too small. Your belly is correspondingly much larger and has sprouted a rather amazing amount of hair. Since the T-shirt is too small to contain it, your big hairy belly is hanging out from underneath. This is –less than appetizing- to most of us (not to say there’s anything wrong with that if you like that sort of thing).
BTW, tell your “kiss of flame” who was with you at that concert, now your wife (or “old lady”, whichever applies): the item is called a brassiere; they are available at many stores in an astonishing variety of styles, sizes, and prices; their purpose is to assist those monster ta-ta’s that in 1984 must’ve been great, but at this point are trying to visit their friends the knees down in Sagville. Sad but true: just as your “size medium” T-shirt days are behind you, so her white-halter-top-with-no-bra days are behind her.
10. 20-something frat guys at Spec’s with 2 shopping carts full of cases of brewskis: Dudes, this time in your life rocks! Unfortunately, continued use of the brewski in that quantity leads to #9 above. Trust Uncle Nicky, he knows. He was once as slender and good looking as you. Now, at least, he knows that if the T-shirt is not “XXX” or better, he should not be wearing it.
11. It’s sad to feel slightly dirty for standing behind the young dudes in #10 above while holding a bottle of Jim Beam Black, a bottle of Canadian Club, and a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, all big enough to have built-in HANDLES. Beer is a fun little beverage for fun young adults. The booze mentioned above smacks of middle-aged despair and incipient alcoholism.
12. Dear H-E-B: If your Managers know that Blackberry devices set off your alarm, therefore let guys like me walk right through there (while the alarm is shrieking) without stopping them---what’s the use of the alarm at all?
13. I don’t know what it is about Costco, but in Houston, it’s an Asian paradise. I literally look around and ask, “Am I on Bellaire Blvd?” (Chinatown here). I don’t know what it is about the Asian culture that makes them drive and walk so s-l-o-w-l-y. Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong; maybe I should learn to slow down. I just don’t get the allure of spending hours in Costco. I go there for toilet paper, paper towels, and dog food.
14. Ted the Barber is great. He does an amazing job of cutting my hair, best I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, he also likes to get paid for that service….
Will the day ever come when I remember to buy ice on the first go-round? I don’t like ice out of the icemaker, it tastes funny. All of it. I like ice from a bag (it’s made with distilled water, which has no taste). Accordingly, I buy ice. I just never remember to do it while actually in the line in the store; I then have to go back in and buy it.
I actually love our H-E-B, it’s got tons of variety, tons of great things to eat, amazing specials, good low prices, and the friendliest cashiers/management team I’ve ever encountered at a grocery store. I love Spec’s; my God, they’ve got EVERYTHING! I love Dandy Cleaners (though I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m paying for Song’s (the uber-nice proprietress) new Mercedes…). I love going to Ted the Barber; Ted has led a fascinating life starting with his life on the streets of Mexico City as a child, then pulling himself up by his bootstraps, then finally making a successful business in the US (and becoming a citizen).
And now I have about $50 left in my checking account (after CitiMortgage gets through with it, not to mention the vet for poor little Bessie-boo’s heartworm treatment and the State of Texas, which has this annoying habit of taxing me every August for tags for my autos; we have smog inspections here, too, much like Los Angeles). Oh, well, come on, August 15th!