Tonight I was looking for this special box of delicious Chuck bought the other day, a honey-flavored granola cereal that is like Pow! Yum! I was browsing. A toddler chirped "Hi!" I chirped back and his dad rolled his eyes.
"I don't know," he was saying to an older woman, like a seriously older woman, like you could go knuckle-deep if you pressed a finger into one of her wrinkles. "I just don't know ..." He lingered at the edge of the aisle. "Hi!" his son chirped to someone else, totally negating the moment we had shared seconds earlier.
"What are you looking for?" I asked her.
"Corn Meal," she said.
She was staring at the Quaker Oates, the Quaker Grits, unable to resign herself to the fact that the Corn Meal wasn't with its fellow cardboard cylinders.
"I'll find it," I said.
I'm no stranger to Corn Meal. Sometimes I spontaneously burst into Corn Bread. Love the stuff. Anyway, she was having trouble seeing, I think, although I might be wrong because her lipstick was impeccable. But if we hauled off into a competitive 40 yard dash, I was going to kick her ass and finish my victory lap before she got out of the blocks.
I started zipping through the aisles and came across the man and the tot in the third.
"I don't even get what she's looking for," he said.
He seemed ... testy.
"I know what it is," I said. "I can find it."
"I mean, is she going to make corn bread, or what?" he asked.
"Maybe," I said. "Is she with you?"
"She's my great-grandma. Well, she's his great-grandma," he said. "She's my grandma. I don't go in grocery stores. My wife does this. ... I'm just trying to help my grandma out whenever I can. But I don't ... grocery stores."
I found it in the baking aisle, where I'd first over-looked it. I dropped it into the man's cart the next time I saw him. Then I ran into the trio again less than a minute later.
"They hid it," I said to her.
She turned to me, looked me square in the eye, scrunched up her face and spat:
"Those damn devils!"
I'm going to adopt that as my own. "Those damn devils." It's really satisfying to say. I tried it out a couple times in the car on the way home. "Those damn devils."
Anyway, her grandson looked tired. On edge. The kid was cute. The old lady told me she was going to use it to fry smelt.
Those damn devils.