Saturday, May 17, 2008

Herding Cats

Another month. Another Mahket Day. How I hate the place and hate the chore. A hateful task made longer by having to bless every piece of meat in the long, white refrigerated case that extends forever like a nightmare. The endless debates about which are really better Polish Dill Pickle Spears or Kosher Dill Pickle Spears. And the worry. I worry for all the Little Debbies and items on the end caps of the aisles. Will they survive the two wheeled corners or the 19 point turns? And the fear. Will the small children walking along side their mothers be able to move out of the way in time as the red scooter burns linoleum down the aisles? And the grief. I can’t pass by the Big Boy tomatoes nestled together in their bin without mourning the one that landed with a sickening splat on the floor.

Like an automaton, I trail respectfully and safely behind the red scooter. I thought after nearly two years, I would have the Weebles shopping expedition into a routine. Dad takes the heavy items like soda, milk, orange juice and dairy, then he does the aisles. Ma sains all the meat, covers produce and frozen foods.

So what is Ma doing in dairy, struggling to put two gallons of milk and a gallon of orange juice in the small basket in front of her scooter? And where the hell is Dad? How long does it take to put a dozen cans and bottles into the recycle machines?

I leave Ma at the Deli and run back to look for Dad. Find him and hustle him down to Deli to offload the milk and juice. He wants to know why he has to put those items in his cart? Why? Why? Because I said so, that’s why!

Ma gets her deli items and heads to meat. At least we’re going in the right direction. I push Dad along to the aisles.

It occurs to me as I run back and forth between the Weebles. I’m herding cats. I get one going in the right direction and run back to find the other. I pound up and down the store, chousing the aisles, beating pickles, cleaning products and bread looking for Dad and then repeat the process in produce among the celery, apples, and the poor tomatoes searching for Ma.

Cats. They are like cats. And like cats, they have their own language too. Ma calls to me.

“Oh! I forgot the…”

“You forgot the what?”

“You know. The frozen white things.”

Frozen white things. Frozen white things. Onions? No, she buys those fresh, not frozen. White things. White things. Frozen white things.

“Do you mean cauliflower?”


Push her to frozen foods and then go chaussing for him.

Finally, we are done. Get them in the chute for the checkout line.

I need to get me a lariat and a cool hat.

As the cowboy says: It ain’t easy, but when you bring a herd into town and ya ain’t lost a one of ‘em, ain’t a feeling like it in the world.

Git along little weeble. He-ya!, He-ya! Almost two years runnin’ and I ain’t lost a one of ‘em yet.


Erica Vetsch said...

LOL, Chousing! Now I get it!

CJ said...

Knew you would (-;