St. Patrick, the patron saint of boozy losers, has saved yet another witless drunk from facing my wrath. He also saved the idiot-woman behind the counter at Osco. I was going to let her have it too.
All we wanted to do was pick up a cheap pot for one of our floor plants and we grabbed a watering can while we where there. All we wanted was a swift transaction for our humble purchases and to be quickly on our way. Is that too much to ask?
So what if it was 10:30pm? So what if it was Friday night? So what if it was St. Patrick’s day? So what if the watering can was a sissy looking thing painted white with a big sunflower on it? Does that spell trouble? No! It may spell, here are two dorky people who just saw Zhang Yimou’s “Not One Less” and liked it a lot and now want to buy cheap household products at Osco without incident. But do they want trouble? NO!
We did all the right things. Got in line. Waited patiently. Properly mocked the displayed tabloid headlines. Produced the Jewel/Osco card upon request. Answered “Yes” to the obligatory debit card question. But suddenly, from behind us, a voice. Upon reflection, I’m pretty sure I SMELLED the voice before I heard it. An “I’m stinkin’ drunk and I’m going to talk to you” smell.
“Thosh are shome intereshting purshashes. Doing shome gardening on shaint patrishes day night?”
Hula looked at me with that face that means he’s got ten seconds before he loses his shit. The line was a long slow one and he has a hard time with the general public. Since I’m usually far more tolerant and figured we only had a few minutes left, I whispered, “Just go out to the car, I’ll finish up here.”
The drunk was breathing pretty hard and pushing up behind me. Hula went ahead, but didn’t leave. I could feel the back of my head being pickled by this man’s breath. Now I never responded to the first question. In fact, I didn’t turn around at all. Hula, the only one of us who acknowledged his presence with a nod had gone on ahead and while not out of the store, was out of the line. Nonetheless, the drunk guy wanted to talk more.
“If you plant thoshe plantsh at midnight, shaint patrish will have the moon make them grow.”
At this very moment while my nose hairs were curling, the idiot-woman behind the counter was trying to stuff this huge pot into an Osco bag. It was taking her forever and I was being asphyxiated by hot drunken breath. I told her, “No thanks, we don’t need a bag for that,” and she gave me a dirty look! Like I wrecked her day because I wouldn’t let her solve the puzzle of fitting a large pot into a small bag!
Then she handed me a receipt to sign.
I have neglected to explain how inept idiot-woman was. As slow as molasses. She had problems with the register during the two transactions before us. She wanted to chat about my pot in the same way she chatted with the woman in front of us about the bargain she was getting on her stupid cardboard collectable cut-out thingy you put quarters in. She rang up the watering can twice and had to unring it. She was completely oblivious to the drunk man pressing against me and to my obvious disgust at the entire situation.
I’ll say it again. She handed me a receipt to sign. I was then forced to say it out loud.
“I said debit, not credit.”
“No,” she replied, “I asked is this credit, honey, and you said yes.”
“No,” I responded, “You didn’t. You asked if it was DEBIT, and I said yes.”
I’m thinking, she’s pissed because I wouldn’t let her put the pot in a bag. I can’t believe she’s arguing with me. I can’t believe I’m arguing back. All I wanted more than anything was to get the heck out of there as fast as possible. Fighting her about this was not obtaining my objective, which was the “as fast as possible” part.
“Shorry to shay thish, but you did shay debit,” the drunk chimes in, putting a hand on my hip.
I went blind. I signed the receipt, threw it at the woman, shrieked, “I SAID DEBIT, CUNT” and stormed out.
Okay, I didn’t throw a receipt or say anything of the sort. But Hula and I had huge laughs all the way home regarding the various reactions I would have received had I actually said the C word out loud in Osco. I wanted to say it. I nearly said it. Something stopped me. SOMEONE stopped me.
St. Patrick, the patron saint of boozy losers and inept idiot-women. God bless him.