Last week there was a day when Beth and I played phone tag and spoke to each other’s voice mail once each hour. That afternoon on a quick trip to the grocery store the bagger at the checkout stand asked me, “Paper or plastic?” And because I have a dog who can’t poop in the potty I said, “Plastic, please.”
Moments later the checker asked me the same question, “Paper or plastic?” And I happily answered again, “Plastic, please.”
The bagger immediately jumped on the checker and scolded, “I already asked her that, duh.” And the checker instantly apologized.
“Please don’t apologize,” I pleaded. “You can ask me that question over and over again. Your two voices are the only two adult voices I have heard today. Paper, plastic. Plastic, paper. JUST TALK TO ME.”
Neither one of them said another word.
And then yesterday Beth and I engaged in another round of phone tag — she’s good, but I’d say I’m unbeatable — and again I headed to the grocery store to see human beings engaged in adult activities. The young checker foolishly greeted me with a smile and asked, “Hi! Have you done anything fun today?”
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO RESIST THAT OFFER? That’s like telling Chuck that Emily is coming over and would you please resist flinging your body at her car? NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
So I started talking and the diarrhea just shot out of my mouth like a high pressure fire hose. None of what I said had anything to do with “fun” so much as it had to do with “the tedious maintenance of an imp who earlier that day crawled over to the camera case and proceeded to extract the $1300 camera and place it into her lap so that she could press all the little pressable buttons.” I finished with, “I guess maybe there IS something to all this child-proofing nonsense, huh?”
I’d say that I have mastered The Grocery Store Check-Out Uncomfortable Silence That is So Interminable YOU JUST WANT TO DIE RIGHT THERE NEXT TO THE BIG RED AND JUICY FRUIT.