Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How Not to Work and Run Errands

It's hot in Milwaukee today. Somewhere in the 90's I would guess even though the official reading right now is only 86. For a change, I was going out for lunch, which, on a day like today, is a nice thing to do being that most restaurants have at least minimal air conditioning.

Afterwards, I get in my car. My very hot car which has been baking for the past 90 minutes in direct sunlight. Lovely. And since it's so hot, I decide that I'll stop at the grocery store on the way home so I don't have to go out later. It's the regular grocery store - the one I rarely go to, but I need sliced dill sandwich pickles to go with the 16 Boca Burgers we bought at Costco over the weekend and Trader Joe's doesn't carry them. And I need diced tomatoes for the black bean soup I'm going to be making, which I could get at Trader Joe's but I'm not about to make a special trip just for them.

So on my drive to the store I call the office and try and touch base with someone (let's call him Avi) who's working with us on a specific marketing project. I tell him that I'm on my way back from a meeting and running an errand, just so that if he hears strange noises, he knows I'm not completely ignoring him. No problem. Until I'm looking at the diced tomatoes (there are way, way too many choices of diced tomatoes). Then it happens. A guy walks up to me and says, "Excuse me, do you know where the tomato paste is?" He clearly cannot see I'm on the phone, so I can't be annoyed. But do I look like I know where the tomato paste is? Evidently I do.

Avi laughs at me.

I excuse myself from the call for a second and say, "No, but maybe farther down this aisle?" And I was back on the call in no time.

And then it came time to check out. I had four items with me. There were three check-out lanes open and they all had at least three or four people in them. I'm not really sure why all of these people are shopping in the middle of the day, but that's why they have self-checkout lanes.

I start checking out. I'm mid-sentence with Avi when he interrupts me to ask if someone else came on the line. I have no idea what he's talking about because I'm focused on only two things: Scanning my three cans of diced tomatoes (I couldn't decide on just one kind) and my jar of pickles and having this conversation. I'm not listening to or hearing other voices.

If you've ever used a self-checkout at a grocery store, you'll remember that the machines speak to you. I did not remember this. Avi laughed at me again. I reminded him that I am so focused on our conversation that the extra voices are being kept at bay. And somehow he thinks this is funny too. So I have Avi laughing in one ear and a machine reminding me to put my diced tomatoes in the bag and take my receipt. It's a strange world.

(It should be noted that now that I am back and seated at my desk I am really enjoying the breeze and would have been fine not going out at all.)


Avi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Avi said...

Aaaaaaaand now I'm laughing at you again.