A beautiful fall day; quite sunny, temperature in the sixties. I left the house around 11:00 a.m. to see if my barber was working. Long gray hairs everywhere had convinced me that such a trip was long overdue; so it is with the clan Angora. The barber handed me an old copy of Intervu (from Madrid, I think) featuring a perfectly naked young woman on the cover. She looked vaguely familiar; not in the personal sense, never fear, but as if she might be some celebrity or another. My curiosity in this regard was thwarted; the cover credits gave only the name of the photographer. More gratifying was an article on UFOs, a subject that (also) fascinates me.

The haircut over with, and having well over an hour before my first lesson, I headed for Giant Food. A quick look at the check-out lines revealed little crowding so I took a leisurely stroll among the aisles, one which might produce more than the ten items allowed in the express lane. So it was that I wound up in the lane for "15 items or fewer, checks accepted." Ahead of me was a woman with two very small children, a boy and a girl. I noticed the mother was holding a one dollar bill and a handful of change. My mind ran to thoughts of my less fortunate days. . . moments with broken down old cars, bills that seemed too large to ever be paid, etc., etc. In any case, it seemed this was going to take a little longer than the usual. I contented myself with a study of the periodicals facing me across the conveyor belt. I don't remember the names but you know the kind of thing I mean; a typical headline might read: "100 YEAR OLD IMPREGNATED BY MARTIAN INVADER. . . TWINS EXPECTED."

Meanwhile, at the cash register, things weren't going very well. The order came to more than the dollar bill and coins would cover. A bunch of bananas was extracted, but that wasn't enough; a bag of tangerines went too. I wondered if there was a graceful way for me to pay for those things without embarrassing the woman any more than she must have been already, but thought better of it. A manager was called in to handle the voids on the register. Behind me in line, a woman of my age or better was viewing all this with consternation. Impatient gestures, pointed examinations of the watch dial, and mutterings such as, "isn't this ridiculous," were all in evidence. Not wishing to stare at either woman, I got back to the headlines. (The plight of the person in front of me was clear enough, but what of the other one; was she going to miss "General Hospital" or something?) Anyway, I learned that Dolly Parton has been ordered to gain twenty five pounds or lose her TV show! What's going on here; all along I was sure her appeal was in her personality! There was a juicy Hollywood divorce item and some allusions to flirtatious tendencies on the part of princess you-know-who. Ahead of me, coins were counted and recounted; and then it was my turn. The cashier, a new face to me, was flustered; I don't think she even remembered to tell me, "have a nice day," as per the training manual. Ah well, a small matter.

Back at home, while putting the groceries away, I thought of a way I might have handled things at the store. It made sense as part of a little theory; but it was too late by then. I still feel bad about it. I didn't notice what the woman did buy, but I wanted the little guys to have those bananas and tangerines.


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