When you have a blog for a while, there are times when you struggle to find things to write about. You sit there at your desk and try to come up with something, anything to fill the empty page on your screen, but there is nothing but that blinking cursor, mocking you. You're just about ready to give up, preparing yourself to write a short post that says "I've got nothing to write about, be back on Monday" and then POOF, like manna from the Gods, something happens. Something you can write about.
Don't you love it when that happens?
I was in the express checkout line yesterday at Walmart waiting to purchase a few items and, as usual, the store was crazy busy and the checkout lines were all running extremely slow. After standing in the same place in line for five minutes I began to wonder why Walmart even bothered to have express checkout lanes. They don't often get you out the door any faster because they put the strangest, slowest (and oldest) cashiers there, and it takes all of my restraint to not jump behind the register and ring up items myself.
At long last there was only one other guy in front of me in line. He held whatever he was buying in front of him as he waited, so during our time in line I couldn't see what he was waiting to pay for. When it was his turn, he set his three items down on the counter: A six-pack of a local micro-brew, some EasyMac, and an economy-size package of 36 latex "ribbed for her pleasure" condoms.
The guy shuffles down to the debit card device and digs out his wallet. The cashier, a middle-aged woman with hair like Lucy from Peanuts and skin and teeth like an ancient crocodile with a penchant for chewing on rocks, bares her snaggle-toothed smile and greets him loudly.
"Heya!" she said. She reached up to the left panel of her standard-issue blue vest and adjusted one of the pins attached to her name tag.
"Hey," the guy said quietly. He was looking down, seemingly very interested in the contents of his wallet.
"How are you today?"
"Yeah?" she asked cheerily. She was very chipper. Almost creepily so. She paused for a moment, and then reached for the box of EasyMac. "I'm fine, too, thanks for asking."
She looked up at him as if she expected him to laugh at her wittiness, and then shook her head when she didn't get a response. She slid the EasyMac over the scanner and bagged it.
"Looks like you're going to have quite the night," she commented. She rang up the beer next. "Can I see some ID?"
The guy looks up, startled. "Wh-what did you say?"
"I need your ID. For the beer," she said.
He dug out his license and handed it over. "No, I meant what did you say before that?"
"Hmm? Oh. I said it looks like you're going to have quite the night. What, with the beer and the condoms and the mac 'n cheese and all." She gestured widely at his purchases with one hand as she keyed in his date of birth.
The color drained from the guy's face. He turned to look at me, and the expression on his face screamed "HELP ME". I shrugged and thanked my lucky stars that this was happening to him and not me.
He stammered and tried to come up with a response, and eventually just decided to stay quiet.
"Personally, I don't much care for them."
"What, the beer? The EasyMac?" the guy asked almost pleadingly.
"No, the ribbed condoms. They say that they're for 'her pleasure', but I don't get it. Maybe I'm just too loose down there for it to matter."
All the color that had drained from his face now came flooding back, and his expression morphed into one of fear. She handed him back his ID and rang up the rubbers. He swiped his debit card through the device and frantically punched in his PIN number.
"I guess when you pop out five kids naturally, that tends to happen," she continued. Having rung up all of his items and processed his debit card, the register spit out his receipt. By the time she pulled it from the printer and handed it over, the guy already had the bag with his items in hand and was walking away.
"Sir! Your receipt!" she called out.
"Keep it!" he yelled over his shoulder. He cast one last frightened look back at the cashier, and then booked it for the door.
I set my basket on the counter, and she turned to look at me. She crumpled up his receipt and threw it away.
"Heya!" she said again, in her classic cherry voice. "How are you today?"
I responded immediately. "Good, and you?"
I learn by example, people. Especially when it comes to snaggle-toothed Walmart cashiers who over share deeply personal information with complete strangers.
Have a good weekend, everyone.