So it’s Sunday and I realized that I haven’t written my column yet. No time like the present. Deadlines, you know? The fact that I’m in a supermarket, waiting in a 10-items-or-less express line shouldn’t stop me.
There are six people in front of me, so I think I have time. Sure, the frantic clicking of my 1941 Smith Corona typewriter might be annoying to some people, but that’s OK. We’re shopping. It’s supposed to be annoying. It’s all designed to be annoying: The high prices. The wobbly shopping carts. The fake smiles. The woman with four kids who’s checking out right now and trying to use a personal check. It says right there on the sign, “10 items or less . . . cash only,” and she’s writing a check. That’s annoying.
You know what’s really annoying? The music that’s playing is annoying. This soft rock music is supposed to be soothing. It’s supposed to enhance the shopping experience. I suppose soft rock would be better than metal or rap, but for me, soft rock music angers me. It’s annoying!
Soft rock music makes me want to pull my hair out and roundhouse-kick someone in the neck. Right now the song that’s playing is “Having My Baby,” by Paul Anka. Why did Paul record this song? What was he thinking? It’s supposed to be Valium for your ears, but it’s annoying. As long as they don’t play “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” I’ll be OK. I need to calm down.
The guy in front of me looks like a grizzly bear wearing a tank top. I’ve never seen so much back hair! It looks like his sideburns extend all the way down to his elbows. Does he even own a razor? I’m looking in his shopping cart and all he’s got is five gallons of milk and two 24-roll packages of toilet paper. Seriously, who needs all that toilet paper? I’m thinking this guy is probably lactose intolerant and he doesn’t even realize it.
As I type this I’m listening to Air Supply singing, “I’m All Out of Love.” Swell. Oh, I just realized that I’m all out of toilet paper at home.
Well, not much I can do about that now. I don’t want to lose my place in line. Besides, one more item would give me 11 items. I don’t want to go over the limit and get those eye-rolling dirty looks from the people behind me in line. It’s annoying.
It’s not nearly as annoying as this music, though. Right now I’m listening to the song, “(I Wanna) Make it With You,” by the soft rock group named Bread. Which reminds me, I should have gotten some hamburger buns.
Too late now, though, right? I mean, I don’t want to go over the limit, you know? Then again, I’ve been over the limit before. We all have. And nothing happened. Sure I got the eye-rolling dirty looks from the checker and the people behind me, but it’s not like this is a federal law. It’s not a law at all. It’s more like a friendly suggestion. In all fairness, there’s been plenty of times when I’ve been in the express line with only one item (and if you must know, that one item is usually a 12-pack of Coors Light – which is one item, not 12).
A 3-year-old kid just sneezed on my leg. That’s really annoying. I really feel like socking someone in the neck right now. I need to calm down. It’s really difficult to calm down while the music system is playing “I’ll Do Anything for Love,” by Meatloaf. It’s giving me a soft rock wedgie, but it reminds me that I should have bought some hamburger.
Too late now, though, right? It’s almost my turn. I’m getting antsy. I’m almost done. I’ll have my overpriced stuff. I’ll get away from these people. And I’ll get away from this music, which right now is playing the Bobby McFarrin song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Don’t you worry, Bobby. I’ll be happy when I get out of this place.
As I approach the checker with my 10 items, I casually take a pack of gum off of the “impulse-buying” shelf and toss it on my items. Big deal. Eleven items now. No biggie, right?
Wrong. The checker does a quick visual scan of my stuff and cast’s a dirty look, while rolling her eyes. The people behind me are rolling their eyes, as well. And then, as if on cue, the music system starts playing the B.J.Thomas song, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”
Somebody’s going to get hurt. I hope it isn’t me.
Reach C.W. Plunkett at firstname.lastname@example.org.