Totin’ the load

Yeah, this is the driveway, not the store, but I guarantee you this is how I looked hauling all that stuff around. Someone should pay me for being Entertainment for All and Sundry Living Darn Near Everywhere in the World.

My life overflows with adventure. Most of it unplanned, unintended, uninvited, and unwelcome. Today’s visit to Big Lots! fell into that category.

The store contained maybe 15 people… and no carts. NO CARTS. Not one. None outside; none at the inside front of the store; not even any scattered, abandoned, in corners. And I needed to get some stuff for the new house. What’s a crone to do?

Well, I’m gonna need a laundry basket, so I found one and started stuffing Essential Things into it. I dragged it around on the floor like a puppy with a bone six times its size. Drag, scrape, drag, scrape, stand up, rub back, drag, scrape, drag scrape, repeat.

“Why are you dragging that stuff around?” asked one woman about my age, who looked at least mildly sympathetic to the wildly dysfunctional, even improper, body mechanics I was having to employ.

“There weren’t any carts,” I replied.

“No carts! That’s awful!” And she wandered away. So much for sympathy.

I rounded another corner and found a trash can—also something I’m going to need, right?—and promptly filled it with a container of Dawn (a big one! Original formula!!), some toilet paper (so there, Linda R.–I told you I’d remember!), and some other stuff. By this time, the laundry basket held four round pillows, two large multi-photo picture frames (I’ve got a lot of my-kid photos that no longer have frames because space when moving, and those super-multi-frames are getting harder to find), a half gallon of Clorox (maybe not such a good idea with fabric adjacent, but hey, I was draggin’ in more ways than one. It’s hard pulling everything you have in a freaking laundry basket when you’re older than the dirt rocks came from), and you have to remember I don’t like to shop.

“My goodness,” said another woman in a later aisle. “Are you dragging all that stuff around in a laundry basket?!”

I am proud that I did not give her the sarcastic snark that rose to my lips. Like, “No, I’m floating it overhead in a balloon,” or “Can’t you see the donkeys in harness?” though that one would have backfired, I’m sure. But her next sentence was helpful!

“You need something to pull that with,” she said. “How about fastening your purse strap to it?”

I looked at my purse strap, which is fastened via dog-leash-style clasps to the purse. This is the kind of solution I usually come up with, and I was a bit miffed. But she deserved her due.

“Brilliant!” I said, and actually smiled. Then I frowned at her, having heard too many of those simple-fixes-I-didn’t-think-of ideas from my kids, daughters-in-law, and probably grandkids.

“Are you an engineer?” I accused through slitted eyes.

She laughed. “No; I’m a nurse. But we solve a lot of problems in creative ways when we don’t have the right equipment!”

“Aha!” I replied, thanked her, and started hauling my cache toward the cash register via the purse-leash method (more like drag-swish), which wasn’t half bad as a solution.

When I reached the cash register, I had to get into a seldom-used email account in order to get a 15% off discount. Very, very carefully–given the shaky dang fingers–I entered the information. I triple checked it. It was all right.

Google didn’t like it. They wanted me to enter my “recovery email” as a security measure. Now, I appreciate that they’re concerned about my security (ha ha ha ha ha), but… I entered that one extremely carefully, too, checked it several times, and clicked the “next” button.

CRITICAL ERROR! CRITICAL ERROR! it shouted.

“Critical error, my ass!” I snapped. Both the young men at the checkout were caught between laughing up their sleeves at my cache of stuff and trying to figure out how to get me out of the way so the next person could check out.

I tried it again. Even more carefully.

CRITICAL ERROR! CRITICAL ERROR!!! Seriously, it gave me three shriek marks after that one. Google needs to chill.

“Umm….” said Checker 1 to Checker 2, “… ummm… can we just give her the 15% discount and not worry about this?”

Checker 2 side-eyed him and quietly nodded. “Yeeeeaaaah, let’s try that.” (Silent subtext: “Otherwise she’ll never leave.”) He asked my phone number, I gave it to him, he got into my account, I saved $25, all was what passes for “well” in my odd little world.

He kindly put some of the stuff into a very large Big Lots!! bag and managed to compress the contents to a density just shy of a black hole. With a determined expression, he maneuvered the trash can of stuff into the laundry basket, whose bottom now looked, surprisingly enough, as sandpapery as if it had been dragged around the floor of a large store while filled with heavy stuff.

Bless his heart, he also helped me carry stuff outside… although there were still no carts. Not outside. Not inside. Nor were there any more people than there had been.

I think there’s a portal to another dimension in that store. It’s the only explanation. I’ll bet there, the milk cartons all say, “Found! So-and-so, appeared last Saturday in Albertson’s, standing in the dairy section and looking puzzled!” Etc.

Donna, blissfully unaware that my head had gone off on yet another of the wild-goose chases that send her into terminal laughter, opened her car and we shoved my stuff inside.

I’m still walking a little like Igor, but I hope that won’t be permanent. If it is, I may have to start using eyeliner pencil to draw big scars and stitches on various body parts, just so’s I look the part.

Posted by wordsmith

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