Bright Lights, Big Safeway

“Who actually goes grocery shopping at 10:30 at night?”

I looked up from my the depths of my cart, from which I was trying to extract a slippery bottle of berry-flavored Propel. Apparently he was talking to me, as he rang up Ray’s Lorna Doones and Sophie’s mini quiches.

“What? Oh, yeah, ha ha.” I tried to laugh. The guy was so young he was shiny, hair gelled into crispy spikes.

He grinned, waiting.

Oh. Shit. I was expected to respond.

“Well, I have two kids and a full time job,” I said. “When else would I go?”

“Well, I have one kid and a parttime job!” he sang.

I just looked at him, smiling as much as I could muster, waiting. SO?

He just grinned.

Can I go now? I asked silently, still smiling.

No. Not yet.

“Want to donate some money to prostate cancer?”

Um, okay, sure. A dollar. (I’m tapped out. Last month was the Special Olympics, and I gave five bucks every time I paid for groceries. And I’m at Safeway a lot. Not just late night. Early mornings, too.)

“OK, a hundred dollars!” he called out. I blinked. What? “Oh, gotcha! Just kidding!”

The lights are way too bright in there. 

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