Braving arctic-like cold is not my idea of fun, I usually avoid going beyond the confines of my apartment door when winter’s icy chill reaches the single digits but yesterday was Market Basket day.
Most of my regular travelers canceled, so I had the van to myself and therefore the ride to Westford was peaceful and quiet, no verbal diarrhea to disturb my thoughts.
The driver came earlier than his customary 10:00 A.M. and told me he would be back at noon to pick me up for the return trip so I had ample time to peruse the isles. A good thing too because through the generosity of my sister-out-law, Saint Laura Scanlon, I had extra cash to spend on those items I usually do not add to my cart.
Market Basket’s meat counter has a policy of marking down items that have not sold within a certain period, called Manager’s Specials. These select cuts of meat are usually not within my budget but not this day. Wednesday, being a mere two days after the big holiday witnessed a bonanza of Mgr. Specials and I indulged my carnivorous proclivities. I even added a container of organic Shiro Miso that I have had my eye on but always passed on because of its $9.00 price tag but not this day!
I finished early and went to the coffee shop to read the copy of the Boston Globe I had purchased and sip my cuppa while I waited for the van. Headlines about that mendacious kleptocrat playing golf soured my stomach and increased the pain in my spine and I contemplated the possible relationship between the two.
The lovely ladies of The View, playing on the duel TV sets in the Café, signed off but the van was nowhere in sight. Jonah generally keeps a meticulously accurate schedule, he has never once deviated from his appointed rounds in the years that he has been driving us to Market Basket. Alarm bells began to sound in my mind’s ear when the clock at the head of the center isle struck 12:20 P.M.
Having no cell phone I calculated my options, I could wait until half past the hour and try to find a payphone but the chances of locating one of those obsolete devices was slim to none, so I decided to sit and wait. By half past twelve I began to feel nauseous and began thinking ‘if I were a payphone where would I be’ I checked the front of the store and made my way pushing my bounty along with me to the Service counter at the other end of the cavernous store. Explaining my predicament to the woman behind the glass; she responded by pointing to a phone adjacent to me and said, “Just dial six and then your number.”
Of course, my brain being what it is, could never remember my own phone number let along ones that I have on speed dial, so first I dialed “911” thinking ‘Information’ but getting “please state your emergency” instead. I had to answer a host of embarrassing questions from the female officer for my faux pas, and then tried dialing “411.” This time I was connected to the automated voice information system; however, the machine could not comprehend a thing past “Acton, MA.” I never got through, I was stuck at Market Basket like a cheesy character in a Rod Serling episode of the ‘Twilight Zone,’ well at least I would not starve.
As I stormed back to the Café to ponder my fate, the van arrived; however, not my familiar driver. As it was explained to me on the ride home, Jonah’s van had a mechanical problem and he had been forced to bring it to where ever it is that malfunctioning vans go for repair.
The driver seemed to know me, although I could not recall his name and we chatted about banal topics e.g. the weather, the Holidays, and then he told me about his eight grandchildren. A fascinating man possessed of an interesting life story to tell. Imagine having grandchildren almost old enough to have children of their own, I wondered what that is like.
Driver X helped me unload my booty but I still had to haul it up three flights of stairs and me with an already vociferously complaining spine.
Lesson of the day:
Never let your optimism get the better of your pessimism.
Consider obtaining a cell phone.