Thursday, December 6, 2012


I go to our supermarket pretty regularly; several times a week, in fact. It’s probably one of the few places I can go and feel… I know not what I feel. I don’t drive, because I’m legally blind. Oh, I suppose I could drive and I did for a while, when I was just blind in my left eye. It made for some interesting guess work, as regards distance between objects, moving and stationary. Depth perception was nil anyway. I no longer had that annoying 2-of-everything thing going on, but still, when I had about 83 near-misses in 10 days, I decided it would be better for everyone if I just surrendered my license and went quietly. Surgery on the left eye did nothing except, surprise! That annoying 2-of-everything is now back, only sometimes the 2 things are real far apart, sometimes they’re almost 1 thing. It’s psychedelic, without the pestiferous and lurid colors, odors, sounds and… oh, wait. I have this other thing going on, that provides all of that. Never mind.

Anyway, yesterday, which was Wednesday (another missed check in! Damn!) I went on my weekly jaunt to the store. As we have no vehicle, I go after JC returns home from his class, that way we only use 1 bus pass and save an extra 4 bucks. It’s easier for me to go as well, because he has bad knees. Our little operation works quite well. The pass-off of the ceremonial bus pass, farewell kiss and off I go, back-pack and whack-a-mole, dark glasses and ‘tude.

The attitude has mellowed somewhat. I only get overtly hostile if someone runs directly over the top of me now. I employed the 3-foot rule for a long time. I still have the option to detonate if my person or property are manhandled, which believe it or not, has happened in the grocery store, but we have a saying there, “Only on Nebraska.”

It’s an apt saying and timeless, apparently. I’ve been shopping there, since I was dumped unceremoniously down the street in a homeless shelter over 2 years ago with my food stamps. It was zany then and seems to have gotten worse, so it’s just my style. I forget about how random and crazy this place truly is until times like yesterday.

Some observations and highlights, if you don’t mind. First off, Management either heard my endless bitching about “Sleigh Ride” by Thelonius Monk, or I just missed that part of the endless tape, that’s filtered through bad speakers and is just a crackly static anyway.

I swear I DID recognize the woman who came up to me hollering “Girl! You look so fantastic! What choo been doin’ since you got out?” I totally scoobied that one and said, “Oh, you know, a little of this, a bit of that. And you?” She rattled on about “our old gang.” We reminisced about stuff I do not remember. Had some laughs and promised to keep in touch. Hug, hug and off she went. I’m really not sure what we got “out” of. I’ll ponder that awhile.

I never cared for Scooby and the Gang. I can't believe I know what "Scoobied" even means. Too much "Buffy" and "Angel"

So, as I was a-pondering, I’m bent over, looking for some soup and of course, the soup I wanted was on the bottom shelf. Dude comes up and says, “D’you know where the Velveeta is?” I straighten up and say, “Well, logic would dictate that it be with dairy products, but that is not the case, so it’s probably with the air filters.” Ha ha. He goes off and I continue wrestling with my soup. Dude comes back. “You were right!” Shit, blargle. “My name’s Tom.” “Hi. Tom. My name’s Mary.” Dutifully shake hands. He says, “Are you from around here?” I say, “Actually, I’m on loan from another planet.” He gets the hint and leaves. Aargh. I so hate that.

Well, shit. Now, I feel like I need to skedaddle. I don’t do well when I think people are on the prowl. I get real defensive and from there, I get jumpy and all offensive quickly. Crap. I go and get my pastrami; I’m about through anyway. Now, here’s where it starts getting really weird.

The saying “Only on Nebraska,” started about 2 years ago, when I was trying to pay for a prescription at the pharmacy. Between the cash registers at the counter, there is a perfectly round hole cut through the top and people were throwing their trash down the hole. The pharmacy clerks put a medicine bottle to prevent this. That didn’t stop people, customers from removing the bottle and stuffing their garbage in the hole, so the clerks wrote “DO NOT REMOVE” on the white plastic lid, which I found (and still do) absolutely hilarious. At the time, I said something like, “This is just unbelievable,” or some other amorphous thing expressing my incredulity. I had a lot to learn about this neighborhood. The pharmacy clerk, who lives around here, said “Only on Nebraska,” and it stuck.

Anyway, I paid for my groceries and went to the customer service counter. I needed to get 2 rolls of quarters so we can do laundry. What happened next was something out of a Marx Brothers movie. I have no idea which Brother I would have been, probably Gummo or Zeppo, although maybe we were more like the East Side Kids; really low-rent.

There was a woman in a Fedex getup doing Lottery or Money Order stuff being helped. To the right of her was this troglodyte of uncertain sex in Bermudas, striped tee and baseball cap with a bag containing a sub and a bag of wings. I was behind these 2 with wallet, a twenty, bottle of water, cart of crap and whack-a-mole.

There was some fussing and fidgeting going on. Now, remember I cannot really see all of this and when things get weird, I get weirder. Fedex lady finished her business and stepped away. When she did so, something fell to the floor in front of me. I looked down. What in the name of all that is unholy mackerel Moses on a bicycle is that a finger? I look closer. It’s a root! Gah, it’s a moldy finger-root!

I scream out “Sqhiieeeee…. She dropped something…. Wha is this….?” I’m in full panic mode. I’m not sure if this is a finger, a spore, some hellish curse. Just make this go away! Dear God, if that fucker moves, I’m outta here. I will levitate, melt, sprout wings; I am not going near that mutant bastard whatever it is!

Well, in my fugue state, I walked to my right, laid down my 20.00 bill and my bottle of water, saw the bag with the sub and the wings and thinking it was mine, since I had gotten JC some, and had an identical bag, picked it up; the troll had disappeared. Meanwhile, the customer service clerk had come around and looked down, said “it’s a chicken bone; disgusting,” gotten a paper towel and whisked it away to never-never land.

Troglodyte comes back and hollers, “Where’s my sub?” just about the time I holler “Where’s my money?” so we have a nifty little ballet there for a few moments, until we get that sorted out. Cashier lady sees me huffing and puffing like an ox on ‘roids and the troll is about to cry and says “Ladies (?) take a deep breath.” We do and life rights itself.

I have too many groceries to take home on the bus, so I go out front and call a cab, then call JC to tell him I’m on my way home. As he and I are talking, a traveling dog-fight goes by, in the form of a kid on a bike with monkey-handlebars. He’s got a boom-box duct-taped to the handlebars, speakers facing out. Rasta hair, flapping in the wind. Dude’s cranking it, both with pedals and volume, full blast. Of course, all I can hear is static, with a bit of bass and shouting. At least the kid is respectful. He nods at me as he zooms past. I nod back and burst out laughing, once he’s gone. Only on Nebraska.
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