Every Monday for the last six months, Emma and I have done our grocery shopping at Loblaws. We always go through the same checkout, with the same cashier. Her name is probably Lynn, but it could just as easily be Margaret (my memory is sketchy on a good day). Today, as I was putting my groceries on the conveyor belt, Lynn (or Margaret) looked up and gave me a great big smile. “I was just asking Charlene about you!” she said. “I haven’t seen you in a while. Have you been working?”
My brain, which had been skipping merrily along towards Small Talk Land, pulled up short. I had no idea what she was talking about. Who was Charlene? Had I started a new job? What the hell had What’s-Her-Name and I been talking about last Monday?!
“I don’t think… I haven’t… I mean, maybe, right?” I stammered, trying to stop my face from scrunching up in confusion.
She tilted her head slightly and stared quizzically at me as I busied myself with the potatoes.
“Well, it has been a long week,” I said, trying to redeem myself. Then I sighed. “I’m sorry. I have no idea what’s happening.”
The cashier forced a laugh, then stopped making eye contact. Suddenly we both became very focused on sorting and bagging the food. Never has there been a more proficient bagging team.
Clearly, it’s now time to switch grocery stores. Forever.