99 Cent Mitzvah

Yesterday, in a mad rush to ready the house for Halloween and prepare for Teddy’s crack-of-dawn birthday celebration, I used the self-checkout at the supermarket. I never use the self-checkout, because anything akin to accessing unfamiliar technology just reinforces blonde stereotypes. I mean, I cannot make Bernie’s iPhone turn on. Ever. I literally wave my hands over it like an old timey magician to no avail. But the other lines were too long with 11th hour candy shoppers, so I braved the DIY aisle knowing it would not go well.

BUT IT DID.

In fact, it went so well that an exasperated elderly gentleman attempting to buy only one slim canister of CometTM demanded I scan his item for him. “I DON’T UNDERSTAND ANY OF THIS!” he accused, as he handed me his sink scrub and waited for me to make the bee boopy pay machine work for him, too. And it did. Except I hadn’t finished my transaction, so it added his purchase to mine and now the official, blue-vested employee who was watching all of this play out was equally exasperated because my helping made everything worse. Until it didn’t. Because the obvious solution was gifting him the CometTM and getting the hell outta there.

A day later, I’m thinking about my late friend and neighbor, Maida, and how she would have TOTALLY scammed someone like this. Just for fun. Just for the story. Halloween trick? Probably not. But the treat was in the memory of helping out and giggling with The Millers… who once sent me to the market to buy one (1) acorn squash and the “big bottle” of vodka. That was it. That was the whole grocery list. In her dotage, Maida enjoyed “senior discounts” more than a kid loves snow days, but also occasionally pretended she was less capable than she was in order to reap small rewards. Other times, she simply assumed preferential perks because of her impressively long tenure on the planet. One time, while visiting Harold after another of his famous falls, she called the phone in the OR where Bernie was scrubbed to ask him for a ride home. We’ll never know how she was patched through.

What kind of seniors will we become? My inability to access Bernie’s phone suggests that someday I could find myself angrily demanding someone to scan my Metamucil for me. Maybe I’ll morph into a Maida, charming the younger neighborhood moms into sharing their baked goods and doing midweek liquor runs. Will these teenage boys I dote on, cook for, and give presents to before the sun rises pay it forward? Our new dependence on the Theragun, reliance on contoured pillows, and inability to drink coffee after noon suggests we’ll need them sooner than we know.

See you in the self-checkout aisle, friends. I’ll be the one buying strangers cleaning products because I don’t know how not to.

comet

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