Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Feat of Derring-Do

I took it upon myself the other day to turn a rather ordinary day into an extraordinary one, but not by intention. The damn thing just grew.

We were up at Tahoe. I had left my husband preparing to walk our dog, Plato, along the Truckee River while I shopped for dinner. My husband is used to giving orders. I don't think there's any other way he knows how to communicate. Oh, that's not really the case, it only seems that way sometimes.

The particular order given to me was "I want you back here in thirty minutes." I told him I couldn't promise such a thing and he would just have to sit on a nearby log if it turned out I was late. He just ignored the comment totally and walked off with Plato. He's not good at small talk.

I don't like to disappoint and he's really a nice guy so I decided to give it my all. But things kept getting in the way. It was nearly impossible to get out on Route 89, and I needed to get on Route 89 in order to shop for dinner. At last I fearfully worked myself into the traffic. Then the traffic eased by some miracle and I soon found myself driving down the main street and into the parking lot in front of Safeway.

I parked in the very outside lane, the best place to burn a little rubber on the way out. I then walked into Safeway pushing a shopping cart. I immediately worked myself toward the back where the meat section was. I love meat sections. You always know where they are. I was planning on buying a nice rib eye steak or two to serve for dinner.

That went rather uneventfully, but after I picked up the steaks, I attempted to push my cart toward the produce section, only to be stopped by a veritable sea of shopping carts. I have never seen as many shopping carts in one place. I finally worked myself through them, turned down into the produce section and immediately found myself unable to find what I wanted, what with all the endless varieties of lettuce and cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. I finally picked up what I thought I needed and headed back toward the meat section because of course I had forgotten to shop for tea or crackers or some such thing and those strange appendages to a shopping experience are always next to the meat section.

More shopping carts but somehow not as many, now people clogging the aisles, some of them bigger than me so, being a total coward, I went back to the produce section, with the intention of making my way around to the front of the store so I could enter the aisle where the crackers, or whatever, were stashed.

Of course I had to go by the check-out stands and, if you've ever been in a Safeway, this is where shopping cart mania really starts. This wasn't a sea of shopping carts, this was an ocean of shopping carts.

I finally got the crackers, finished my shopping and headed back toward the ocean of shopping carts. A miracle occurred! I found a checkout stand with hardly anybody in it!

I had long since given up any hope of actually getting back in thirty minutes. I had given up hope so dramatically I hadn't even looked at the clock. Now, by some miracle, there seemed to be a chance--just a chance--to get back in time.

Everything worked smashingly. I headed for the door happily, a young guy pushing the cart for me. I was so organized I even had my own shopping cart person.

We started down the aisle toward my car when what did I see but a semi-truck backing down the aisle toward the garage where Safeway's goods were unloaded. I had, in my stupidity, chosen the lane where Safeway's trucks delivered their goods! The truck was humongous!

I found this amazingly funny. I had been faced with an unending series of things to thwart my mission, seas and oceans of shopping carts and people that insisted on blocking aisles and then, just as I thought I had a prayer of being on time, a semi-truck!

The gargantuan semi backed down the aisle toward the garage; got the rear end of the truck to the point where it was almost touching the roof of the garage; then apparently not being in quite the right position, pulled up and backed down again. And so it went. Finally he backed the truck into the garage with about an eighth of an inch to spare. A real feat, let me tell you.

Believe it or not I was on time and my husband was late.