I was telling Sara last night about the time I was in a grocery store and they had 12 packs of my favorite soda. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy just one, the man was sticking it to me (and the world) by forcing me to buy all 12.
So I did what any teenage anarchist would do. I ripped opened the box and pulled out just one can of my favorite soda.
Delighted with myself I took le single can of soda up to the checkout aisle and fetched a crisp one dollar bill from my wallet, feeling confident that would more than cover the cost.
However, when the checkout guy in his maroon apron tried to scan the barcode it failed two or three times. He then gave me a puzzled look and asked me where I had found this particular can. I told him that I got it outta a box in the soda aisle.
His bepuzzlement quickly turned to annoyance and he firmly let me know that I couldn’t do that. The cans weren’t marked for individual sale and therefore wouldn’t be in his system.
Avid readers, that was the day I learned the customer is not always right.
And then there was that one time when myself and two older friends were drinking and carrying on, using too many drugs, and just driving around out in the country.
And then they decided they wanted to rob a house.
Being younger I went along with their plans because that’s what I usually did. Everybody I knew, everybody that I got high with in the early 90s was older. Sometimes a lot older.
And I went along with them because a- it was generally fun being up to no good and b- I liked that they invited me along. Even if I was always somebody’s little brother.
I wanted in, I wanted to be part of the adventure. I wanted to be part of a revolution but there was none around. Being up to no good was as close as I could get in rural Iowa to being a revolutionary.
The two I was with that particular night were a couple and I was just along for the ride. Sometimes I would end up in the backseat of somebody’s car and that was totally fine by me. Going anywhere, doing anything, getting high and not being me.
When we got to the house, for whatever reason the lady decided to park in the driveway. It didn’t strike me as odd at first since we were out in the middle of nowhere and it was well past midnight. And I was lit.
As we sat there in the dark, they immediately started bickering about how we were going to actually break into the house.
Basement window? Backdoor? Garage?
After we sat there for 10 or 15 minutes the reality of the situation started became all too apparent. There I was manning the backseat of a beatdown car in the driveway of a house we were about to rob while two methheads couldn’t agree on the best way in.
I could see this adventure playing out only one way. And it involved me going to jail. Again. But this time it wouldn’t be for something trivial like public intox.
Playing it cool, I leaned up and put my arms on their bench seat and said, “this is a bad idea.”
They were drug addicts so much more than me, way worse than I ever was. Robbing the house was gonna give them drug money and I certainly didn’t think they’d pay much attention to my meager protest. I was always somebody’s little brother after all.
But in the few moments that followed my B&E objection they changed their mind. A glimmer of reasonable moonlight broke through their teeth grinding addiction. And then she started the car.
And we then left.
As ridiculous as this story is, it’s also one of the few times where I felt like an equal among that group of people. I felt like that my voice not only counted but was it taken seriously and then acted on.
And there was that one time way back in high school when my best friend and I would sit in the round-a-bout in the middle of town. When cars would circle by we would wave “HI” at them.
And then when they’d wave back, we’d shout belligerently “NOT YOU.”
Some of you may have heard that story before. It’s one of those things I still feel legitimately bad about. I mean everybody has had somebody wave at them and then after the fact realized that they weren’t the ones actually being waved at.
That’s the worst right? Social embarrassment to the Nth degree. And even worse when this happens with complete strangers.
So these people in their cars would put themselves out there, go out on a limb, take a vulnerable chance, wave back at somebody they don’t know, and then my friend and I would crush their hopes and dreams. Like assholes.
Yeah, I’m gonna have to be a better person for the rest of my life to make up for that shit. 😊
Maggie as we’re leaving Target last night: Why don’t people steal the shopping carts?
Me: Well, out of all the things I stole, shopping carts never really appealed to me. They don’t have the functional value of say…a wheelchair.
Me: I guess there was that one time…
Maggie: All of your “one time” stories usually end badly.
Me: No, this is my only out-of-the ordinary run-in with a shopping cart. In one restaurant I worked at I was pushing the assistant manager in a cart up and down the alley behind work. We got it going pretty fast.
Me: That’s all there is to my story. Nobody ended up in the hospital and we abandoned the cart. See, shopping carts lose their appeal after a few minutes. Kinda like the wheelchair did in your Uncle Shaun and I’s apartment.