Fearlessness

Just back from Stop N Shop, where a kid in a cart said, “Mom, we’re only in the aisle near the milk and the butter and ice cream.”

“Yes,” mother said.

“And the cheese is all the way on the other side, so I don’t have to worry.”

I’ve confirmed, there is a fear of cheese, and it is turophobia.

Other things that happened at the Stop N Shop include a woman who said to her brother or boyfriend or husband or friend, “I should work here.”

“Wut,” muttered the bro/hus/friend.

“I know everyone here, I might as well work here!” She laughed at her joke, which was not really a joke of any description, while her companion did not laugh at all.

At checkout, the computerized woman inside the self checkout machine says, after you punch in a product code and put your produce on the scale, “Please remove your…MANGOES.” It says the all caps part much louder. Or: “Please remove your…BANANAS.” It’s quite an absurd way to be addressed.

Outside, a woman approached a convertible car parked in the handicapped spot, thus smack front and center of the lot where everyone merges coming in and out. The woman loudly greeted two white-haired poodles who stood tall on white leather seats furiously wagging their tails. She issued her coos in a showy manner, as if we would all envy the canine companionship she enjoys.

Nice sunset as I pedaled out of the Stop N Shop lot saying aloud to myself, “I must have 175 pounds of groceries on my back,” and pumping up a hill with the rising roar of city bus just behind me. I said 175 pounds because that was the weight that a transit company in Minneapolis insisted, this morning on the phone, that my queen size mattress and box spring weigh, a figure which subsequently accompanied me throughout the day. I found that an overestimate. I found it far-fetched. I found it hyperbolic. I trust that this transit company is an honorable and capable business harboring no intentions of deceiving me, and I credit its ability to gather data and average it, but upon hearing the claim that the eight to ten queen mattresses they move per day weigh on average 175 pounds, a great blossom of skepticism bloomed at the forefront of my consciousness, and it has yet to wilt.

But most of all I found it rude, their presumption of knowing me and the weight of my furniture. If I were a German lexicographer I would insist on coining a word for that tomorrow morning at the office before the strike of ten. Why isn’t there a website where I can enter “offense at another presuming to know the weight of one’s furniture,” click a button, and receive in return 29 letters of the alphabet arranged to precisely name my emotional experience? Such a word would be much more useful to us all these days than the worn-out schadenfreude.

We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t stop American teenagers in a jeep from laughing “Ha ha” at the old guy pumping up a hill with 175 pounds of groceries on his back while a bus bears down on him. But the sky was a succulent orange, the orange of a most fearful cheese.