I have discovered my gifting.
Or maybe it’s just a talent. Or a super power. A calling? I haven’t yet decided how to classify it.
But it’s special.
You see, I have the ability to walk into any store, shop for the appropriately deemed amount of time that will put me in utter misery (Did I mention how I hate to shop?), head for the check-out counters, and (wait for it)…make my selection among all the available lines – and it always be the wrong one.
The number of available lines never matters.
The perceived length of all available lines never matters.
The amount of items in the carts is not an appropriate indicator.
How distracted and slow-moving is the shopper in front of me? Nope – will never be the determining factor.
Only fate, who has endowed me with this particular power, makes the final decision of how time is going to pan out for me in this waiting game.
Friends and family who have gone on these dreaded excursions with me have found my special ability to come in handy, though.
On this particular occasion, I watch my shopping companion in my periphery.
She takes a slight step back to observe me as I carefully contemplate each available line before making my final decision. I make a move towards Aisle 3, but no; I spot a better potential in Aisle 1 with a woman who looks all business, as she speedily unloads her cart. Aisle 2 is completely out of the running, as three elderly people are sharing a cart and paying for each of their items separately. I slide over to Aisle 1.
My companion nods, narrows her eyes, and knowingly moves into Aisle 3.
I glance towards Aisle 3, at my friend. There’s a lot of activity in front of her, but not in the busy sort of way that’s going to get her through that line any faster than mine. She has a mom with 3 kids to get through first.
The 2-year-old in the wired bucket with the plastic flip seat has managed to unbuckle himself and is about to tip the entire cart. The 5-year-old girl is falling on the floor as she pulls on her 4-year-old brother who is greedily pocketing candy at the wretched distraction display. He’s crying and yelling to his mom to make her stop. Mom is spilling change from her billfold and bending around to gather it up. My friend is frantically trying to help.
I understand it’s more for competitive purposes than goodwill.
We’re down to one item in my aisle.
I am one glorious item away from finally winning at this game! (Aisle 2 isn’t even in the competition, as the two ladies are working to convince the elderly gentleman he should’ve gotten the super-sized underwear pack – it was a better deal. He’s arguing that he won’t live long enough to use them all.) The last kitchenware item slides over the scanner in my aisle. I tense with anticipation. Nothing happens. The clerk runs it over the scanner again. No response. A third time reveals it is not a charm.
The lady in front of me tries to tell the clerk how much the item is, but to no avail. He picks up the microphone to call an associate, as I begin drumming my fingers on the counter. My friend is rocking backwards and forwards in Aisle 3, while mother hen works at gathering her chicks back into the cart before she can even begin to pack her items in there.
The scent of victory has not yet faded.
I don’t have to tell you how this turns out, do I?
By the time it’s all said and done, the Aisle 2 team is, of course, victorious. Its three little bent-over champions take turns holding onto their cart as they shuffle past the greeter towards the finish line.
The competitor in Aisle 3 (formerly known as my friend) has taken the lead, reaching the scanner before me.
I remain stalled in Aisle 1, frozen in place, much like a swimmer on a relay team who is about to lean too far over my block and get DQ’d for falling in.
It happens to me each and every time, without exception.
So I’ve decided to turn it all around – to see it in the positive. To declare that I have a special purpose in life. I can steer others clear of the hazards and turmoil of wrong line selections. For the rest of you out there, take heart!
I am the one with enough super-human power to take on the time thief at the supermarkets, the shopping malls, and, yes, even at the produce stand.
I do battle with the injustice of all deceptive lines out there in my world.
Stick with me (by this, I mean choose a different line) and you will always come out safe – and ahead.