She’s not having much luck with her card.
I’m standing behind a woman in line at a grocery store. I’m in a hurry to get to my long run. I’ve got a bag of Oreos. I just need to pay for some crushed ice on the way out. Slam dunk.
She slides the card. It doesn’t work. She slides it again. Same thing. I’m annoyed.
The clerk is sympathetic. “This happens a lot,” she says. Only then do I put down the me me me agenda for long enough to look.
She appears to be in her early 20s. Life has been hard. She looks like she’s about to cry.
The clerk tries taking one of the two items off. She tries the card again. Still won’t work.
There’s nothing she can do. She apologizes. The clerk, a saint, says she could call the state office tomorrow and see if she can get it fixed. They both know the truth: She doesn’t have any money.
The clerk swipes the second item again to remove it and places it with the other next to the register.
As I’m checking out, I look to see what she was buying. A bag of white rice and some Ramen noodles. She’s hungry. I’m guessing her kids are hungry too. I’m buying a family-size bag of Oreos as a joke.
I check out. I look around the parking lot, hoping to find her, but she’s gone.
I drive home and get out of the car. It occurs to me that I totally forgot to buy ice, the one item I really needed.
I no longer care.
Life is funny.