Actually, it IS Rocket Science



Respect thy elders… and produce

Question for ya.

What would you do if you watched a person, a person much, much older than yourself, do something that even a 4-year-old understands is wrong?

Would it depend on the severity of the act?

Lying on your taxes?  Maybe the international “eeesh” look.

Child abuse?  Alleyoop that shit to CPS- not your problem anymore!

But what if it’s something that straddles this weird line of “not a big deal” and “what the hell did I just watch?”

I just got back from the grocery store where, not surprisingly, given the lead in to this post, that exact event occurred!

I was walking through the produce, inspecting the tomatoes and peppers and contemplating a salsa in my future, when I saw these giant avocados which were absolutely perfect; still sturdy and lent the perfect amount of springback to light pressure and, I don’t know, I was already in a southwestern mindframe, saw nothing less than the perfect backbone of one solid guacamole. I began picking some out when I noticed the price tag, which had no doubt been set by a neo-third reich gestapo.  All thoughts went swiftly back to the pre-envisioned salsa and I moved along.

Because I was shopping in the middle of the day, on a Monday, no less, I encountered a very particular demographic of co-shoppers.  Not that I’m really analyzing them or anything because it’s pretty clear most of them could tell you who the attorney general was during the the Eisenhower administration…from experience.  I actually prefer this over going shopping on a Thursday afternoon where you will inevitably encounter a number of pissed off young mothers who just can’t seem to understand why their children prefer fruit roll ups over hard boiled egg whites, or even worse, a Friday night when you are surrounded by a slew of emerging adults who have just discovered that vodka can be mixed with veritably any ingestible liquid and it will be InstantPartyHolyShitBruh!  

Not long after though, as I waded through the purples and the vidalias, I caught a glimpse of something… odd.  I can’t really liken it to anything else, but at that moment, I knew exactly what behaviors Pit Bosses look for on all of those tiny little surveillance videos.  It’s just that perfect mixology of nervous, guilt, and eagerness poured into a too-small glass.  There was this woman who, if I had to guess, was several decades older than I was, standing as still as an unposed mannequin, except for her eyes, which were darting back and forth, and then every so often she’d shift her head abruptly (not unlike how an owl almost defies the laws of being a vertebrate) and inspect her surroundings her periphery didn’t cover.

 And then continued to SHOVE THOSE AVOCADOS INTO HER POCKETS.

If it had been an avocado.  Had it been two avocados, hell, three! I would have smirked and moved onto the dairy section.  But this was like watching the Coney Island hot dog eating contest.  This woman was the KOBAYASHI of smuggling this produce item into every available opening in her clothing.

This was about the time that I realized I was the ONLY witness to this.  And being that I had recently noticed the cost of the said produce items that were swiftly being shoved into her clothing, my mind somehow became a running cash register of all of her contraband and eventually it became less of a running tally and more of a high school football game chant.

$2

$6?

$10?

$12??!

Who do we know’s goin to hell?!

And it went on.  I suddenly realized why she was wearing sweats.  This woman was a seasoned professional.  I kind of actually started to vacillate between in a state of complete disbelief and a bit of utter fascination.  I was just stuck in this suspended animation of Not Do I Understand What Doing You Are.  Isn’t anyone 20+ years above you supposed to be an exemplar of the grace of age and wisdom?  You know, apart from watching all those Hoarder and Intervention shows.  I just stood there in unbroken wide-open-eyes for a solid minute while I witnessed the stealth of a geriatric bandit.

Which was when she noticed me.

I didn’t know what was coming, but suddenly we were in a visual standoff. She knew that I knew that she had seen what I had seen.  An infinity of mirrors awkwardness.  And now there were two deers staring into the headlights of each other’s eyebeams.  This went on for about 3 seconds but felt like the length of a Baleen whale if you counted it inch per second.  She finally broke by shrugging and pushing her cart into the deli area, no doubt to scope out her chances of bogarting some cold cuts.  I proceeded to laugh in disbelief that someone just made out with about several weeks worth of an expensive salad garnish.

But what if it were a philosophical conundrum?  Like if Joe couldn’t afford the medication to save his wife’s life so instead he stole it from the pharmacy?  What if Jane’s husband needed an exuberant amount of omega-3 fatty acids or else he’d die?

Eh, I doubt it.  That lady just wanted some cheap guacamole.  And now she gets to waddle through the rest of the store like a penguin with a watermelon between her thighs.  Well thought out, you enfeebled shoplifter.

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