As soon as I was home from walking the dogs Friday evening and layed out in the hammock until I started to feel the chill of the near-fall evening, I figured out what to do next for my free evening. Hubby’s playing games with the gamers leaving me with my favorite company other than him: myself and the doggos. So what did I decide, independent of anyone else’s opinion or influence to do with my Friday evening? Have an edible and go grocery shopping!
Had no list, no REAL reason to head to the nearest market at 6:45pm instead of, oh maybe FEEDING MYSELF, no no no! Just grocery shopping at a store I kinda hate at a time of day where it would actually look suspicious if I was wearing sunglasses indoors. ON A FRIDAY NIGHT, PEOPLE!!! I know, weird.
I didn’t plan on taking long. Actually, I was ONLY here because last week, I found marinated pork loins with 30% off stickers and bought ALL OF THEM. The “use or freeze by” date was that day, so of course you gotta move on that, right? Believe me when I say I picked up every single one of those packages to check the date to make sure the clerks who put the stickers on didn’t miss a package or two with the same date! What I noticed in my scouring and rummaging was that all the remaining pork loins in the rack have a date of September 24th. Friday night was September 23rd. I’ll let y’all do the math on that.
Sadly, this week, no pork loins were on sale and none of the package have a use or freeze by date before 10/9. No session of freezer jenga for me that night! Damn.
So I check all the discount bins in each section and all the coolers. Find a loaf of sourdough for $1.99 and a brand of Greek yogurt I hadn’t tried before marked down to $3, so I pick up a couple of those. I head to the produce section because there was talk of a potential impromptu cookout the next day, so I grab some onions, potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, and other produce like that. Then I get in the only line that’s open apart from the self-serve checkout. In front of me is this guy, bespectacled, bearded, tattooed, very “Portland.” He was wearing some slightly rumpled clothes and was emptying his cart onto the conveyer belt. About 10lbs of various frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, bell peppers and spinach, from what I could tell) and about 10 family sized packages of fresh chicken breasts.
This opportunity is too good to pass up. I start talking through my mask… “You must have a chest freezer at home.” He turns to look at me, pulling out an ear bud. “Huh?” I repeat myself. Then immediately, we riff for 3 minutes, at least, on everything from the topic of an old Planet Money podcast episode to our favorite yoga practices. He does have a chest freezer, and the chicken is only $1.99/lb, so he thought it was appropriate to stock up. I share the story of last week’s pork loin extravaganza. We lament together about how the store USED to mark near expired goods down 50%, but now it’s only 30%. He also has 3 credit slips, probably from the bottle return. Since he can only check out with one at a time, and you can’t get a greater credit than you are spending, he directs the clerk (who is one of their most reliable and tolerant employees, so I’m sure is used to this stuff by now) how to divide up the order so he, the customer, can pay next to nothing in 3 transactions for all this freezer material.
As the cashier has to do part of the credit process at another register, probably because this store hates their employees, I say to the guy… “I wouldn’t normally ask this and I hope you don’t get offended, but are you autistic?” I’m not sure he heard me at first, but then it clicked for him and he said, “oh well maybe, kinda, a little Aspie…”
I know my kind. Neurokin.
Finally, and I’m starting to feel a little extra fine by this point, he gets all his stuff bagged up and I get his attention one last time to flash him my LinkedIn profile. Thinking I really need to get some personal business cards made up soon. I had nothing to give out. I thought he might take a snapshot of my profile to save it and connect later, but it didn’t quite work out that way. I’m not sure he had a phone on him, or possibly not even a smartphone at all. He seemed the type who easily could’ve been a luddite. But he did read my name out loud and say he’d remember it. He never shared his name.
Some Friday night. Perhaps our paths will cross again. Perhaps he will actually remember my name, look up my LinkedIn profile and read this blog post when it goes up. The world can be a magical place.