It's Been 84 Years: A Grocery Store Attack

I... I don't know how I made it out alive.

As I sit here, with my glass of *much* needed and well deserved wine, I feel like the old lady from the Titanic. I went into that grocery store at a mere 28 years young. Sadly, I drove away at an alarming 84 years old.

My last memory is that I was in the check out line. The kids were fighting over who got to put what food on the conveyor belt. I have a vivid memory of sweat starting to bead on my upper lip as I tried to demurely redirect their behavior because, after all, I am in public. And then I thought, "Damn it, guys... I actually showered today. Do not make me sweat." And then it happened.

Tucker put the pink strawberry applesauce on the belt.

I've been told, or have read somewhere, that before a WWII bomb would hit you could hear it whistling. My own daughter-- my flesh and blood, whom I carried for nine months and fed from my own body for over 14 months-- didn't even have enough decorum or decency to at least whistle before she exploded. She sincerely must get that from her father. (If you know me and my family, you know that might be a lie. If you comment any differently, I will sic my daughter on you. And son, just for good measure. I'm traumatized, here...)

If you know my daughter, you know very well that her scream can shatter glass. She has a bright future in being a soprano opera singer. Truthfully, she's been scouted as a dog trainer because she can reach frequencies that only dogs can hear. Okay, that might be a lie, too, but not by much.

If I had to use my five senses to build the scene it would go something like this: I saw a pink clothed body hit the floor, I heard the glass at the front of the store shatter while a piercing wail brought the store to a halt, I tasted salt as I licked my dripping face, I smelled fear-- my own-- mixed with some embarrassment-- also my own, and I felt my head begin to throb, right in pace with my pounding heart.

And then I blacked out. The following account is from eye-witness reports (again, maybe a slight fabrication):
  • my daughter rolled and kicked on the extremely dirty grocery store floor
  • she screamed that she wanted to put more things on the conveyor belt. I grabbed something off said conveyor belt. SHE THREW IT. Not back on the belt... oh, no... on the floor. Where she seemed to be making herself extremely comfortable
  • I tried to pick her up. Her back then became arched, her grubby, dirty little fingers began batting at me, feet kicking (feet, mind you, in tennis shoes that I purchased. No decorum, this one...)
  • my son says, wide-eyed and shocked, "Mommy, everybody is staring at us. I don't like it."
  • I let her go, back down on the floor. At this point there is somebody, who clearly has no regard for his or her own well-being, in line behind us
  • she goes back to the floor and, while in her seeming possession, pushes the cart and it rolls over my sandaled toes
  • "Paper or plastic, ma'am?" WHO HAS TIME FOR CHOOSING MATERIAL OPTIONS?! The bagger could have began throwing the groceries back on the shelves for all I cared
  • I start grabbing scanned and unbagged items and throwing them in the cart. This part is not a lie... by this point in the game, literally everybody in the front of the store is staring at us (side note: this was one of those super Krogers.... with clothes and stuff. So, a ton of people)
  • I try to nonchalantly wipe the sweat off my face, hyper-aware that, again, everybody is watching
  • I am now also hyper-aware that the bagger is not feeling quite the same sense of urgency as the scanner and I are feeling. He's smiling at me, almost robotically, grabbing things to bag at a snail's pace. I think the light was on, but clearly nobody was home. If somebody were home, he'd have heard that shattering pierce and starting bagging for his life
  • time to pay... come ON chip reader... and then I see a flash of that same pink clothed terrorist take off. Away from me. Away from the entrance we came in
  • I curse the fact that I bought her those damned tennis shoes and ever encouraged her to run in the first place. How dare she use my kindness against me?!
  • my son once again comments on all the people staring... 
  • I count to one, loud enough for her to hear
  • Lucifer, in his hot, fiery domain, laughs at me
  • I puff out my unsupported chest (this also led to the embarrassment... of course I wouldn't be wearing a bra when shit hits the proverbial fan) and, with a facade of confidence, calmly count to two
  • Lucifer once again laughs. And then he ups the ante
  • my son pushes the *finally* bagged and paid for grocery cart, not even two inches, in the opposite direction that my daughter just ran
  • in what is clearly becoming a mission for her to fulfill from Satan himself, my daughter decides to scream louder, but decides to put words to use, finally... "MOMMY IS LEAVING.... DON'T LEAVE ME, MOMMAAAAAAAAA" and comes running back
  • an extremely generous older gentleman bagger comes up to us 
  • I ignore him. I cannot tell you how quickly I bee-lined for that door, much to everybody's approval
  • he asks me if she wants a sticker. Looking back now, I wish I hadn't been so curt... I don't make eye contact with him, choosing to ignore him, because the salt from the sweat has now made my eyes sting
  •  He asks again
  • I tell him, very rudely (if this gentleman is reading this-- I'm so sorry), "NO, she doesn't deserve it."
  • and then I break free. Sort of. She's still crying and screaming. She wants to be in the cart, she wants to hold her pink applesauce, she wants to hold the oranges, she wants to walk... But at least now we're on my own turf, in the open parking lot, and without such a captivated, albeit slightly terrified, audience
And now here I sit... 84 years old, working on my second glass of wine, and ashamed of my behavior to a man who is probably the same age as me (again, now 84). 

While this all happened, I prayed that there was some other mother in my ever piqued-with-interest audience who could relate. Who felt sympathy. Who didn't judge. And I'm now left with a daughter who thinks she is quite literally a princess, or an "Evil Queen" as she's been saying since we've gotten home, and the need for a wig and other accessories so I can go incognito on any subsequent errands with her.


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