Every now and then, I like to do a nice thing to balance out all the not-so-nice things I do on a daily basis. One of the nice things I do is obey the “No turn on red” signs. I believe this makes up for the fact that I speed, tailgate drivers, and scream obscenities at hapless pedestrians who don’t get out of my way.
Another nice thing I do is let people go ahead of me in the checkout line if they have only a few items and I have a cart full of groceries. This makes up for all the times I “accidentally” slam my cart into someone who’s moving too slowly, knock over an old lady in my eagerness to get the last Kraft Easy-Mac, or slink away after spilling a container of milk. Clean-up on Aisle 6!
It sure feels good letting some poor schmuck with his pathetic jar of mayonnaise, Hungryman fro-din, and jock-itch cream save 10 minutes of his miserable life by not having to wait for me to unload my week’s worth of food and diet pills.
“Why don’t you go ahead of me?” I say magnanimously, with a graceful flourish of my arm to indicate not only the wide expanse of space that lies beyond my cart but also the hugeness of my heart.
Sunday was a shopping day and, as usual, I was filled with the milk of human kindness as well as a large McDonald’s coffee. My cart was extra-full of stuff for a family party: paper plates, paper cups, $1.99 tablecloth—no expense spared. Also the new Star magazine, which promised to show me the “Worst Beach Bodies.” This will make me feel better after I read US magazine, telling me how Christina Aguilera got her body back.
As I approached the checkout aisle, I saw a woman carrying a few items.
“Go ahead,” I said in my most beneficent manner. There was another man behind her, also with just a few things, so I grandly motioned for him to go ahead, too. As I wheeled my cart in, another man appeared behind me.
“Why don’t you go ahead of me?” I suggest, holding up my hand to fend off his grateful thanks.
OK, that’s three people in front of me. More than enough to ensure my Good Samaritan status. I feel pretty damn pleased with myself and can finally start unloading my stuff.
Oh, but wait. Yet ANOTHER guy appears behind me. Peripheral vision tells me he’s holding a few things, but I will NOT make eye contact. I furiously scoop up my groceries from my cart. I want to tell this guy about this great new invention they have called the SELF-CHECKOUT LINE, which is really not that hard to use plus there’s always someone there to help you and why would you choose to wait in line when you can just go do it yourself (breathes), but I don’t dare acknowledge him.
Doesn’t matter. This guy seals my fate with one word.
UGH! You can’t ignore the “Ma’am.”
I back out my cart to let him in front of me, but I can only be a Good Samaritan for so long. Sooner or later, the good wears off, and the bad emerges. Smiling through gritted teeth, I can’t help but mutter that I’ve already let about sixteen people ahead of me, grumble, grumble, can’t stay here all day, my milk will spoil, and so on. I catch the eye of the guy in front of me, hoping for some acknowledgment of my sacrifice, but he just looks disappointed that the Good Samaritan has turned into a normal, everyday bitchy person.
So now there’s four people in front of me, and my Good Samaritan glow has been ruined. By me. But I have a chance to redeem myself, because . . . you guessed it. Here comes another loser, carrying a cheap-looking bottle of brandy and a 12-pack of Bud.
No freaking way. My Good Samaritan days are officially over. I turn my back and finish unloading my cart. He is giving me the stink-eye; I can feel it boring holes into my back.
Luckily the checkout lady comes to my rescue. As she finishes with the ingrate in front of me, she says loudly, “I’d better check you out, or you’ll never get out of here!”
“YES!” I agree, “I do have to get this stuff home!” I grabbed the closest item on the belt, which unfortunately was the “Worst Beach Bodies.”
What bothered me more? The fact that the guy behind me hated me and didn’t realize what a Good Samaritan I had been just seconds before he showed up . . . or the fact that I cared what a total stranger thought?
As I drove home, I screamed at a few pedestrians. I felt much better.
There’s no waiting at humor blogs.