It was a fairly decent day til about two hours ago. Just before 2pm (PST) the LP casually inquired if I had any intentions of going to the grocery store today. I replied that yes I did have that on my list of things to do to day---(actually it was the only thing I had on my list of things to do to day---like I said it was a nice day). I equally casually inquired as to why he had asked me that, was there something he would like me to pick up from Ralph's??
Obviously there was or he would not have asked if I was going to the store---we went through the social niceties ---well if it wasn't a bother, no its no bother, yadda, yadda yadda, and I learned that he had this sudden desire for a piece of pie. No nothing fancy like one might get at Marie Callendars, just a good old fashion off the shelf standard pie from Ralph's. "Sure , no problem, and what kind would you like?" says I---The LP pauses, blinks a few times as he ponders his specific flavor hunger and in a low voice, "An apricot Pie would be great----(then seeing my skeptical look on being able to find that particular flavor, he went on)---my second choice would be a Berry Pie, no, no, wait, make that Key Lime Pie---but if they don't have that then make it Cherry" By this time I am now taking notes, and getting a headache, but I manage to collect all the info regarding just what kind of pie he would like, as well as his second, third and forth choices..
So I collected my own grocery list, and headed out to the big supermarket , with reasonable expectations of success. The sun was shining, and the world seemed to be in balance, ---you would think at my age I would immediately know something was about to go wrong it always does when things get to being that good.
It started as I pulled in the big parking lot at Ralph's---I swear I had stepped into the twilight zone----for immediately I was swept up in the tide of cars going round and round looking for a parking slot, stop and go, stop and go, stop and go-----three and a half complete circuits of the parking lot, before the gods decided to allow me to park, and that of course was about as far from the store entrance as one could get and still be in the parking lot. (but I was grateful to get out of the stop and go, stop and go level of hell).
I entered the big Ralph's emporium, the cool air conditioning washing over me as I bravely pushed my empty cart, and for a brief couple minutes I began to have hopes that the worst of it was over, and the rest of my trip would go smoothly (yeah right!! its truly amazing that I retain any sense of optimism at all).
The circus in the parking lot should have prepared me for the zoo inside the store. It was readily apparent to me as I looked at the structured chaotic mob surrounding the checkout stations that if I had any smarts at all I should flee the store and go home and accept the LP's snickers of disgust at my inability to purchase a simple everyday item that he had requested. My family inherited stubborn streak precluded my making such a rationale decision, I had come to shop and should it mean I would be run down by unattended kids playing tag with market baskets, or delayed in mid blocked isles by seniors trying to read their scribbled grocery lists---I would complete my own list, no matter how long it took.
Unfortunately my list of items required I go all over the damn store from one side to the other , from the front to the back-----dodging the kids, keeping my hands to myself, and not throttling the screamers, keeping one eye on the shelves for my items, the other on the lookout for mad dog cart drivers---there was a four cart pile up on Isle #6 involving two older blue haired women, their husbands, a young women with two screaming 6-7 yo's, and senior citizen driving one of the electric carts-----I didn't stick around to find out who or what had happened, it seemed they were about to start throwing can goods at each other---I wanted no part of that----I rounded up my half dozen items from my list, and pushed my way into the bakery area to get the LP's pie. I quickly determined they had no Apricot pies, (his #1 choice) but they did have Peach pies, hmmmm, but wait he had made no mention of Peach pies, so best not to get that, I had to screen about 1-12 cherry pies, before I scored one that read "mixed berry", I grabbed it and headed for the check out stations----it was like entering the seventh level of Dante's inferno. The screams of tired and cranky children, the snarls of adults who had been in line waaay to long. In my own line, it was like life had suddenly gone into real slow motion, every one ahead of me had issues with the checkout person, regarding whether it was a two get on free, or a coupon for a different size, but what the hell ---last minute changes of mine, my ice cream is melting can you send the box boy back to get a frozen one, etc, etc, etc.---I don't remember clearly paying for my groceries, nor do I recollect driving home the few blocks to the house---what I do remember is, unpacking the groceries, hearing the LP telling me he was ready for his pie and wanted ice cream on it----, in a calm smiling face I gave him a nice slice of pie, with Ice cream, he smiled up at me, and vocalized his thanks, and once again GOG returned to his normal good natured self (GOG is shorthand for "Good old Gary althought sometimes it stands for "Grumpy old Gary")-----well it HAD been a nice day at the start anyway.