A Peculiar Person

After a strenuous day of interrupted plans, we’d stopped at the grocery store where, apart from a tendency for things to leap off the shelves, everything had been going fairly well. We barely had to wait for the cashier, who was friendly and efficient.

However, all boring things must come to an end, because then we encountered the peculiar person.

“Where did you get those bags?” she asked. Yes, we’re those people who bring our own bags. We even try to only use the ones for the store where we bought them.

“Oh, we got these ages ago.” They have since changed the design. I really like these bags because they are insulated and have handles that are long enough to go over the shoulder. Most store bags have these little handles that can only be carried in the hand. We have those too. None of this is odd, apart from the fact that the woman doesn’t seem to have much sense of personal space.

“We left ours at home,” she says.

“They should have some to sell here,” I say. The cashier tries to tell her where they are, but the woman interrupts.

“They sure are nice. I want one of those. Can I have them?”

I am helping the cashier pack and I’m not sure I heard her.

“Surely you can spare just one.”

What? No, the little part of my brain that was outraged when it heard about sharing in preschool says, these are mine. Get your own. But because I was raised to be polite (and there was no polite answer that I could come up with) I settled for intensely packing one of MY bags. The faster I could get out of there, the better.

“I mean, it’s just one. You couldn’t give me one?”

Did I accidentally enter another country when I wasn’t looking? Is this like those places where a person admires something in a home and is given it? Is this like Queen Mary around whom trinkets had to be hidden lest she took a liking to them and badgered her host into giving them to her? The hell?

I quickly finished and thanked the cashier. As I left, I heard her explaining to the woman where the bags could be found—to purchase, I might add.

I hastily put the groceries into my car, watching for the peculiar person, afraid she was going to want me to give her my car as well!

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