When did checking out get to be an Extreme Sport?
Hubs and I shopped not long ago. Efficient is our middle name. We came, we saw, we bought. Or, we tried to buy. Turns out buying isn't for the faint of heart or the short on time. This was not an isolated experience. Go anywhere, to any retail outlet, and you can expect your experience to look something like mine:
Crazed Cashier (in that annoying, high pitched, keel): "How's your weekend going?"
Right out of the gate she pisses me off with her nosy, fake familiarity. Having waited in line already 30 minutes in front of a guy with a herd of snotty nosed kids doesn't help.
Crazed Cashier: "Any plans?"
Me: "No." Is that any of her business? I know she could give a flying crap about my weekend plans.
Crazed: "Zip code?"
Me: "99001." I totally just made that up.
Crazed: "Phone number?"
Me: "Seriously? I don't want to give you my phone number."
Crazed: "Can I have your email?"
Me: "Why?" WTF?
Crazed: "For our system."
Me: "I'd rather not give that out either."
Crazed: "Do you have any coupons?"
Crazed: "You could get them if we had your email." Now she's smug.
Me: "That's okay." Like I'd ever come back here.
Crazed: "These are buy two get one free. Do you want to grab two more?"
Me: "I don't really need three coffee makers."
Crazed: "Are you sure?"
Crazed: Turns the only other item I want to buy over and over. "Do you know the price on this? It's not marked?"
Me: Now I have to do her job for her? "No, I don't know."
Crazed: "Can you run get another one that's got a price on it?"
Me: "Ahh...no." Like I run anywhere if I'm not on fire.
Crazed: Yells, "Can somebody tell me how much this is?" She holds my scented candle aloft, like the Lion King with his cub. Some kid wearing a headset that apparently doesn't work, lumbers over at a glacial pace with another candle. Crazed rings it up. Maybe this debacle is coming to an end.
Crazed: "Do you have a Most Irritating Store in the World credit card?"
Crazed: "You can save 10% if you apply for one right now."
Me: Faint from hunger and fatigue, "No, I'll live." I shove my Visa toward her.
Crazed: "Can I see your I.D.?"
Me: After digging my wallet out of the bottom of my purse and wrestling to get it out of the too tight slot I throw it at her. The man behind me with the three screaming kids is now so close to me his breath is making sweat on my neck.
Crazed: Pushing my drivers license back toward me and ignoring my death stare, "Paper or plastic?"
Me: "Plastic." I am now in such a foul mood I'm fantasizing about how many birds might choke on my NOT environmentally friendly plastic bag and smiling.
Crazed: "Would you like your receipt?"
Me: "YES." I'm screeching. Heavy breathing guy climbing up my ass jumps back.
Crazed: "Emailed or hard copy?"
Me: "Hard Copy." Crazed can barely hear me what with heavy breathing guy's kids mania - crying, yodeling and general mayhem.
Crazed: "Do you need help out to your car?"
Me: I grab my one bag and run out the front door straight to the McDonald's across the street. Since there's no bar nearby, carbo and fat loading is the next best thing for my post traumatic stress.
Me to McDonald's cashier: "I'll have the number two."
McDonald's cashier: "Small, medium or extra large?"
Somebody kill me.
Women get a bad rap.
Women in groups, I mean.
The rumor is we can't get along, we're competitive, backstabbing, backbiting, writing on the bathroom walls bitter, and don't forget, jealous. The term bitch fight is not about men. In fairness, and in my experience, it is sometimes true. Particularly with the younger set.
We are not the younger set anymore.
There are many (many, many) things that suck about getting older. Realizing my bloat was just fat suspended in water that quickly descended down around my knees was not a fun day. And when did my ass trade places with my gut? And who does my esthetician think she is anyway, asking me when I planned to do something about my moustache? This is the definite downside.
The upside is learning what I value.
I've learned I value the sisterhood.
At our age, in the war between women, we are united on the battlefield by our losses, and we're not leaving anyone behind.
We've loved and lost. Hated and lost. Fought and lost.
We've lost husbands, children, parents, siblings and friends.
We've lost jobs, muscle tone, teeth and our eyesight.
We have husbands we love and ex-husbands we don't.
We know what heartache is.
We aren't perfect and we're tired of pretending we are. Our families and marriages aren't always rosy. Our kids have substance abuse problems, disabilities, can't find jobs, or sometimes they're just assholes.
We still love them all and press on.
Then we get together in groups to drink and bitch about them behind their backs. So what? We've earned it.
We've cared for sick husbands, handicapped children, aging parents, co-workers on the verge. We've adopted children in need, taken step-children into our hearts. We've saved lives on the side of the road, raised families on a wing and a prayer, figured out how to buy $500 worth of groceries when we only have $150. We've worked full time and gone to school at night, written novels at 5 am because we had to get to work by 9. We've run when we barely felt like walking.
But, the best thing is, we've figured out there isn't much that happens in life that isn't funny. And there's no better balm for the soul than gathering your sistas in a herd and laughing so hard your ribs hurt for days.
Let's face it, if you can't laugh about the time you broke down in tears because your cataract exam was postponed, you need to re-evaluate.
There are many (many, many) things I'm grateful for in this life. My husband, my children, my grandchildren, my writing career. But today, I'm grateful I've been smart enough, and lucky enough, to hook up with some badass women who inspire me. If you can bring it, they can take it. If they're called on, they'll come, bearing gifts, booze and warm clothing for the homeless, or whatever else you might need.
'Cause that's just the kind of gals they are.
So, if you take away just one thing from this post, I hope it's this:
Women in groups rock.
If you need to get shit done, send a group of women. Preferably those who've been around the block, who wear their stretch marks and cellulite with pride and know what weapons to bring.