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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cart Rage

Is it wrong to want the power to vaporize people with a thought? If so, I’m the worst person in the world, because if this little wish of mine were granted, there would be streaks of carbon and tiny piles of ash all over this town.

Cut me off in traffic? WHOOSH! Leave your ass in the lane when you’re turning left? WHOOSH! Park using four spaces cause your truck is just so impressive and precious? WHOOSH, and one for your truck, too. Chatting inanely to your passenger so you don’t notice when the light turns green? So WHOOSHed. Drive 30 km/h in a 50 zone when the weather’s grand? Quadruple WHOOSH for you, my friend.

I drive in one of two states. Either I’m in a Zen-like “Hey, it’s all cool, man” nothing-bothers-me attitude of absolute calm, or I’m a paler version fo the Hulk. “Shen smash! Out of my way, puny humans!” I don’t use the horn much, but my language can be colourful, and my thoughts (uncensored due to proximity of children) are much, much worse.

Road rage isn’t rare or unusual. I find it quite therapeutic, actually. After a good road-based venting session, I’m much more at ease. Cathartic. Cheaper than a spa, but just as good (better, really, because I don’t have some stranger pawing me up or smearing me with avocado mud). I’m sure a therapist would say it’s unhealthy, but they say EVERYTHING’S unhealthy—they have livelihoods to protect, after all, and if we all found socially acceptable ways to chill ourselves out, what would we need them for?

But today I’m not talking about road rage. I’m talking about CART rage.

This is something experienced by those of us with the higher calling of being homemakers. We go out into the world with empty carts. We pilot them through aisle after aisle of impediments, fill them with needful things (mostly), and return home, safe with our hard-won booty. But this journey is not without its perils, oh no.

On any given day during the battle to claim the grocery items you need in order to keep your family well-fed and happy, you can expect to face all of these hazards. They’ll test your patience. They’ll push you to the brink of snapping. They’ll make you question your sanity (well, not that much, really, but they WILL make you question why the hell you’re a housekeeper). And unlike road rage, you can’t hiss and cuss at those who enrage you because you lack the protective and insulating shell of a car chassis to block your fury from being heard. No, when you have cart rage, your only refuge is the silent rage inside your own skull. And maybe the occasional eye-roll.

Whole families going shopping. Why would anyone do this? I understand if you’re the only parent available, you have no choice but to bring along your brood of seven ill-mannered offspring. But when there are two parents? What madness caused you to think bringing your family gathering to Superstore was a good idea? Is this your idea of “family time?” If so, I pity you. Or is this because the husband is too scared to stay at home with the kids, so he lumbers along, pushing the cart, trying to act like he has a clue what he’s doing. (I suspect this last is the case, judging by the lost expressions on most of their faces.)

Cell phones. Unless you’re at the store because your partner is too weak to leave the house, you should know what you’re ether for. Quit talking on your cell phone, standing there blocking the aisle, while you discuss the ramifications of buying low-fat versus NO-fat mayo with your absent overlord. Pick one! No one’s going to die because of a little fat in their mayo!

To the ridiculously fit hippy couple: you need to order your groceries on-line. Years of pot-smoking or organic living have clearly rendered your gray matter useless and you aren’t fit to function in society any long. Sorry. You’re both done. This was a couple literally incapable of making decisions without assistance from their partner. It was like watching a hive mind function after it had been torn in two, or perhaps a couple of lonely Borg separated from their collective. “Do you want this?” “I’m not sure, what do you think?” “Well, we could probably use it.” “I suppose. So do you want to get it?” Etc, etc. They literally discussed whether to head to Aisle 7 or Aisle 5 after finishing up with Aisle 6. I wanted to video them, just so someone would believe me. And their dysfunction would have been entertaining, except they always blocked my path while they debated. (They were also one of those creepy couples that looked like brother and sister. Yuck.)

And it all ends at the line. Ah, here we see organization at its best. At Safeway? One line, and it’s always the Express, so you feel like a knob when you go through with your packed cart. The cashier is always begging on the intercom for someone—anyone—to come staff a till, and the pleas go always unanswered. Then there is Superstore. Many lines open, but they are always packed right next to each other so all of us have to bump elbows while we try and bag our groceries. Oh, there’s space to spread out, but they don’t so that the person tasked with cracking the whip on the cashiers can monitor all her charges at once.

Then you roll the dice to see what the person ahead of you will do. Will they pay for their purchases with a full understanding of how the debit system works and move on? Or will they fumble for change? Perhaps scratch their head, bewildered as to what their “secret code” is? Or worst of all, do they KNOW the cashier, and engage in excruciating (to me) minutes of chit chat about Mabel and Henry and the puppies?

That’s not one day, but merely one ERRAND, in the epic life of a homemaker. It’s a journey only the brave dare. Dun dun DUUUUNNNN!!!

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