Saturday, November 24, 2007

first i congratulated myself for not being classist, then i stabbed myself ...

i'm about four deep in line at the ghetto spur and the rapid flow of transactions is stalled: one woman, a lot of cheetos, a malfunctioning ebt card and a rookie cashier. i am in the middle of a line that winds toward the gum display and our caboose is an older woman clutching kleenix box to her chest like she is shielding it from accidentally absorbing stray pellets of nasal drip from the rest of us.

our caboose has that look in her eye, like she was just dropped here in the middle of the ghetto spur on a friday afternoon and every tin of alatoids, every pack of bubblemint extra is a trinket in a knick-knack store. she is reading the labels aloud to her adult daughter.

snickers. skor? slim. jim.

the woman at the front of the line is studying her remaining balance on the ebt reciept and gesturing. when she shifts i see pork rinds, grape cigarillos, mr. pibb, two packs of merits.

"doya want me to run it again?" the rookie cashier suggests.
"no," i scream in my head.
"yes," she says.

to my right, the other cashier returns from her smoke break and opens a new line. it must be the caboose's lucky day! she ignores the eight of us ahead of her in an civilized single-file line and jumps to the front of the new line. neither of the zombies in front of me seem to notice this slighting. i'm gaping at the caboose, my jaw slack. one man meets my eye -- the sixth person in line -- and he seems less alarmed by this breaching of social code and more amused that in a matter of seconds he will be harvesting slivers of my imploded skull from his hair. he can tell. when my blood boils, i literally emit steam from my ears and imagine cooking scrambled eggs on my throbbing face.

the caboose slowly fills her purse with her purchases. hands some back to her daughter. she has all the time in the world. i'm assuming the rest of us have made a silent pact to remain in one line and branch out for the next available clerk -- in order.

wrong.

a man who hasn't even set foot in our line quickly replaces our caboose, who is all smiles and kleenix. his coffee cup is half-empty.

the woman at the front of my line? she has decided that now that everything is in order, she does want a bag. multiple bags. bags filled with cheetos and pork rinds and mr. pibb.

and i know i'm getting pissed because i'm judging her purchases, which is what my idle pissed off mind does. a content me would never care that she is obviously making a cheeto and pork rind salad for dinner tonight. a me who has been stuck in a store with a bunch of budgers will think all sorts of mean things about people who grocery shop at the ghetto spur.

***

i remember that i need to pick up coffee. i wander back into whole foods and end up in line behind a man who is obviously picking up something that was specialy ordered for him. it's like 15 dollars worth of green seeds -- pumpkin, maybe. edemame, maybe. whatever. he is asked for his customer number twice by the cashier and proceeds to pay for his seeds with a check, filling in the blanks with the slow cursive script of a fourth-grader who will be graded on this.

i wonder what it would sound like to dump these seeds over his head.

***

getting into my car, i'm still enraged by the world's customers and the people who are paid to ring up their seeds and grape cigarillos. and then i think, "well, at least i learned that i'm not classist: i hate everyone equally today."

***

back at my apartment i'm trying using a knife to slice the plastic wrap off a bottle of sugar cookie scented body spray. i take the knife and run it up the side of the bottle and immediately jab it into the fleshy part of my palm at the bottom of my thumb.

it's a gusher.

i grab a paper towel and i'm screaming. conjigating the eff word and applying pressure to my stab wound. when i feel like i may pass out, i lay on my bed. this makes me think i may barf. i crawl toward the living room, within hurling distance of an easy-to-clean wooden floor.

i'm wondering if i'll need stitches.
i'm wondering if i severed a tendon.
i'm wonder if i sliced a vein.
i'm yelling fuck a lot.
did i mention the knife had a serrated blade.
the word "serrated" bounces around in my head and makes me nauseous.

downstairs, biggie or sneaks is coming in and out the front door. i know they can hear me. i think "what if one of those clods has to drive me to the emergency room? what if i die up here and they scratch their heads and say 'yeah, come to think of it, she sounded like she was in pain ... but that was days ago.' "

what if i can't ever use my thumb again, and it hangs worthlessly from my left hand like a teenager behind a convenience store in 1989?

i dress with one hand, the towel still clasped over my stab wound. i barely brush my hair. feeling woozy, i head out the door. about 20 minutes later i run into my friend mocassins. i tell him that i was stabbed.

"let me see it," he says. "you don't have to look."

i pull the towel away. it has stopped bleeding. now i just throbs. i wrap it in a few bandaids, then limp off to show jcrew.

"did this happen at your place or chucks?" she asks.
"mine," i croak.
"you're going to get tetanus," she says.
"it was a clean knife," i say, "right out of the drawer."
she shakes her head. she's not convinced this means anything.
"you're going to get gangerene," she says.
"it was clean!" i say.
she shakes her head.
"they're gonna have to cut off your hand," she says.
"WHATEVER! PROSTHETIC LIMBS ARE SUPER LIFE-LIKE THESE DAYS!" i squeal. my hand throbs when i squeal.

***

i know this all happened because of the mean things i thought about the people at the ghetto spur and whole foods.

6 comments:

mr zig said...

holy crap - best post ever! - crappy day? - Yes, Crappy Post? - hell no! :) I loved the way you wrote it.

Beverly said...

Gosh, I don't know what to say. But I think all that deserves a comment.
Here's a thought about this guy:
"a man who hasn't even set foot in our line quickly replaces our caboose, who is all smiles and kleenix. his coffee cup is half-empty."
I would say his cup is half-full.

Laurie said...

I like that you use sugar cookie scented body spray. I went through a Demeter pick me up spray obsession so I always smelled like graham cracker, sugar cookie or brownies. Sorry about your thumb!

christina said...

well, to be fair, i haven't used it yet since my blood bath rendered me unable to open the damn thing.

feistyMNgirl said...

oh, funny stories. i needed you today.

sorry about your thumb, but it makes for some effing good prose.

CDP said...

Hope your thumb is better...I laughed my head off at this post, but not at your pain.