Posts Tagged ‘Express Lane’

It has taken me awhile to calm down. This seems to be my normal state of mind these days. Not calm. When I get like this I always think it is best I wait until the calm returns. He-Who thinks this is wise also as he is fearful of my wrath when I am “not calm”.

We all have pet peeves. I probably have a few more than most. Recently one of mine got off its leash and became less a pet and a little more feral. I’m talking about that person who get’s in the express lane for “8 items or less” with a full cart of stuff.

First let me say, this was not Walmart. It was Fortino’s, one of the higher priced grocery stores in the GTA. I had picked up my cousin David from the airport and I stopped there for a quick bite to eat and to pick up some crackers. I love my cousin and there are few people in the world that I think more highly of. He’s a very active 70+ but was a bit peckish coming off the plane. I left him eating his sandwich at a table while I ran into the shopping part to pick up my crackers. When I got in line at the express checkout to pay there was a woman and a young boy in front of me. I couldn’t see what they already had on the belt as she was blocking the view while she continued to empty her cart. She leaned over, said something to the boy and then ran off for some forgotten item as the boy continued to stack items on the belt. I watched the boy and thought what a poor job she was doing in teaching him to count. She returned and sent the boy off to fetch something for himself. The cashier began to ring her up and bag her items. The boy returned and added to the pile. At this point I am beyond fatigued, my 4 boxes of crackers felt like they weighed 4 tons and I just wanted to go home to bed. The cashier looked at me and asked me if I would like any bags. I was a bit startled as I was still holding my crackers and the belt was still full. I explained that those items were “still” the same order that she had been ringing up and did not belong to me. The woman turned to me full faced, and spat out, “It is NOT STILL the same order. I am picking up some things for someone who has cancer.”  [In other words, she is a saint and because she was picking up something for someone who has cancer she could break the protocol and pay for her 27 things at the same time she paid for the cancer patient’s 16 things.]  It got very still. There was no air. I could feel the heat from my early morning treatment glowing off my face. I started vibrating. I looked her straight in the eyes and saw what she must have seen reflected there.

Purple hulk

Please note the purple hair. That’s me.

I said, “You picked the wrong person to play the cancer card with, Lady”.

She bowed her head, fumbled with her payment, grabbed the boy by the coat and backed a way in a rather expeditious manner…for someone her age. As I watched her go I saw out of the corner of my eye David standing there watching. I turned to the cashier and apologized to her for my behaviour as the tears started running down my face. I couldn’t stop shaking and I explained to her that in my heart of hearts I don’t believe that any cancer patient would want someone doing something on their behalf to make a fellow cancer patient uncomfortable. The poor cashier didn’t know what to say. I apologized again. She apologized. It was very Canadian.

I was so embarrassed to turn around and face my David. We walked to the car in silence. When I got behind the wheel I was still shaking and I apologized to him. David has always been there for me and helped me through my last bout with cancer 27 years ago, but has never mentioned it once, then or now. He just said, “I find it best to try to stay calm in these situations but quite honestly I don’t know how you cope as well as you do.” He wasn’t embarrassed or disappointed in me. He simply understood. I love that guy!

You see, cancer is pretty prevalent in my family. My Mom died at 42 from breast cancer when I was 12 years old. I had breast cancer when I was 35. My older sister had it about 10 years later and then again, 2 years ago.  We have aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and fathers who have had, currently have, or passed away, from cancer.  I honestly can’t ever remember any of us using the “cancer card” to hurt or inconvenience someone else. My niece, Hinda, said it best when a friend commented on how she was handling the news of her mother’s cancer. “We do cancer well in this family”.  Unless, of course you turn into a raging hulk.

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