Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Adventures in shopping

While standing in line this afternoon at a local arts and crafts store, I got distracted. The line was long. Very, very long, and - of course - there was just one cashier.

So, knowing I was in for a rather long wait, I took the bait and started poking through the $1 bins to my left. Filled with super cool notepads, candles, pens, cards, ribbons and various other items that would rock any Christmas stocking, those bins had my undivided attention as I awaited my turn at the checkout.

Ten minutes later, my cell phone rings. At that point I was still searching for the perfect stocking stuffers - while on my knees and pretty much inside the bins, themselves. The conversation quickly turned to holiday decorating, tree trimming and the like - all of which I'm more than happy to talk about these days, so I was completely unaware of my surroundings - or that I was being watched.

A few minutes later, I removed myself from inside the $1 bargain bonanza and glanced up to find an audience of middle-aged women waiting to see what the heck I was doing. I stood up, smiled and realized I'd been holding up the line for a good 5 minutes as my leg was stretched out of the bin and into the aisle. Oops.

At any rate, everyone was super nice and let me back into my place. ... And then it happened: Two, count 'em two, cashiers opened registers. Several old ladies in the back of the line made mad dashes to the new check-out girls, and a lady behind me told me to go on up. I politely refused, considering I'd just made a spectacle of myself, and told her to go ahead and get in the shorter line.

I watched as the two new lines moved quickly. My line stayed in the same place. It seemed the couple in front of me was hell-bent on buying every Christmas decoration in the store. But I'd committed to that line. I'd refused the shorter line, and that was OK. I watched as new people came and went and as the slowest check-out girl in the world rang up garland after garland and fake pine cone after fake pine cone.

And that's the way it always works out. Whether it be in line at a store or in traffic ... the slow lane is where you'll fine me.