I woke up before dawn on Sunday, to a sweet smiling toddler with an an avocado obsession.
B- Cado, mommy. Cado.
We’re out of ‘cados, so we have to get up and get dressed to go find some at the store. I’m exhausted and in desperate need of coffee, but realize as soon as we walk in to Safeway, that I’ll need something to distract her with if I really intend to wait in line. Everyone else wants coffee this morning too. I consider the immediate options available to me and remember that she’s learned the magic of a band-aid this week. Her last tattered Minnie Mouse bandage had fallen off on our way out the door this morning. We rush down the health/first aid aisle first… in search of some new cartoon icon band-aids to replenish our stash.
I catch sight of an old man, slowly searching through the disposable razors, the antacids and shaving cream. I hear him grumble about not being able to find something.
I’m a server. I really cannot stop myself from helping someone, no matter where or when. I’m tired… but I love the grey-hairs and he is looking more anxious by each frantic second.
So I offer.
J- Can I help you? I hate to eavesdrop but you seem to need a little help and this is the only place I shop. This is my store. I hate to say I know where everything is, but I do.
He looks relieved and because his phone is on speakerphone, I can hear his wife, clearly.
W- You never look. I could be standing beside you holding it and you couldn’t find it in my hands. For Pete’s sake.
He turns his back to me and barks briskly into the phone.
H- Would you like me to put the nice woman who offered to help me on the phone? I’m doing my best.
W- Oh My GOD damn it, Howard, you asked for help? How embarrassing.
I smiled at him to let him I know I was not a crazy person, and he opened his mouth and leveled me.
H- I’m looking for Plan B or the Morning After Pill.
W- It’s not called the morning after pill anymore, it’s just Plan B.
You could have knocked me over with a feather. I fought back laughter and leveled with him.
J- I’ve only gotten it once and I had to get it from the Health Department.
Which he relays, loudly, over the loudspeaker on his phone.
H- It’s not here Dear. She got it from the Health Clinic. Is this, Oh for hell sakes, stop shouting at me.
W- We sound like perverts. Come home. I’ll get it myself.
Meanwhile, I’ve led him to the condom/pregnancy test/tampon aisle. The pharmacy is closed and it’s the only place I can imagine it’d be.
It’s not there. You can cure a stinky vag, replenish your feminine hygiene basket and prevent pregnancy… all in the same 10 feet.
Alas, you cannot stop a misfire spermatozoa from landing his lady outside of pharmacy hours.
She’s furious. He’s frustrated. I’m crimson and biting the inside of my cheeks to hold it together.
W- Let the poor woman go. How embarrassing.
H- You’re embarrassed? A complete stranger just led me to the condoms and pregnancy tests.
I’m coughing to keep from laughing. He stammers a “thank you” in my direction and I walk away before dissolving into giggles. I was shopping for Band-aids, so we went back down the other side only to hear more of their conversation.
W- I should have gone myself.
H- It’s the Superbowl and the pharmacy is closed. I can buy condoms or pregnancy tests, which feel late and early, considering.
W- Take a picture and send it to me.
H- I’m never shopping here again. Pour me a scotch.
Wouldn’t you know it… that coffee line had emptied by the time we’d secured our Doc McStuffin’s and Hello Kitty Bandaids after the wild goose chase for the Plan B.
Never a dull moment. Never a bad day.