Today at work, NewIntern hit on me. First he offered to go to the gym with me at lunch, and later he showed me some funny T-shirt pictures he thought would make me laugh (they didn’t). I looked at him and said, “How old are you, kid?” “28,” he said. My eyes narrowed to slits. “I could be your MOTHER,” I hissed at him, and went back to my desk laughing. The whole thing was actually really funny. I felt like pulling a Ralph Malph and going, “I stiiiilll got it!” and cracking myself up further, but people there already think I’m crazy and probably nobody would get the joke.
I did a terrible, terrible thing after work tonight. I went to Wal-Mart. I know, I know. I never, ever go there, not unless someone gets me a gift card or something. But I needed a variety of disparate things and I am so, so tired, there was no way I was fighting traffic to go all the way down to Target, and CrapMart is so CLOSE to home, I thought we could just run in and get the short list of disparate crap I needed and be on our way.
This was a mistake, in many ways. First, my son was in trouble when I picked him up from school. At after care, he had been clowning in trying to make someone laugh, and ended up ripping some kid’s glasses off his face and throwing the glasses on the floor. Which, of course, was NOT funny, to the kid or the people who run after care. I lectured him on the way out about how many days he would lose privileges and how many chores he would have to do to make up the cost of someone’s broken glasses if they had actually broken, and reminded him he didn’t need to work that hard to make people laugh and like him. I also pointed out, in my mom-guilt way, that *I* had to apologize for his behavior, and that it reflects badly on both of his parents when he misbehaves like that. And on the heels of that, we went into the belly of the horrible, ugly beast.
I needed name tags. I wheeled my cart around squinting and overwhelmed. Jesus Christ these places are huge and laid out in such a way that makes zero logical sense. I looked all over the home office area and there was nothing even close to nametags. Address labels, sure, but no name tags. I even looked in the party planning section, but crapped out. But I did get the denim patches I need since every single pair of D’s pants has the knees worn through now. And a new whiteboard for the kitchen grocery list because SOMEBODY colored on it with permanent marker. And at least they had organic eggs, and coffee filters. It took me an eternity to find this shit. The cart wouldn’t turn right and D kept hopping off the end and running into people, pissing them off. Really, everyone looked pissed off and tired and miserable, including me. And I got some wine, because hey, it’s Friday. And salsa, because I think all I’m eating tonight is salsa. Like, right out of the jar maybe. I’m too tired to cook and don’t want any of the carby stuff I reheated for D.
I found the very shortest line to get in. AH HA HA OR SO YOU THOUGHT. This stupid fuck in front of me was buying like three items and paying with a check. Like, a paper check, because this is NINETEEN FUCKING EIGHTY ONE, RIGHT? He asks the cashier if he can get cash back and she’s like ok how much and he says one hundred. So he gives her the check and she looks at it and she’s like, is this a payroll check or something? He’s like no, I just wrote it. I look at it. It’s a fucking STARTER CHECK. She’s like oh, well, I don’t know about that, I think you can only get $20. She doesn’t even know what it IS, or why it doesn’t have his name and stuff on it. “I have to get a manager,” she says. “OH GREAT!” I said out loud to both of them. D was now laying in the filthy bottom of the underneath part of the cart and wiping his hands on the dirty floor in between the slats. “GET UP OFF OF THERE NOW,” I said. She asked the guy for ID and he launches into how he just moved here, and usually places let you get at least 40 or 60 cash back, and the chick is all well we have to wait for the manager now. I’m looking at him thinking how much I want to smash his stupid face into the check-writing counter and write “I’m an asshole” with his nose as the pen and the blood coming from it as the ink.
Manager comes over, he’s like well we can do 40 and he’s like ok, then he spends five minutes explaining to the chick how to ring it up. And she’s like don’t go away because I need you for this next ring as well, because she’s just a kid and can’t ring up wine. But he goes to the end of the aisle and starts chatting with some employee. She does all this stuff and rings the guy out and he knows I’m ready to kill him. He takes his stuff and goes and the chick rings me all up, except the wine, and is standing there kind of waiting for manager asshole to turn his back and see she is waiting, but the two of them are just jawing up a storm about their shift. “HEY!” I said, “CAN WE GET SOME HELP OVER HERE? I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO LEAVE HERE NOW.” So he finishes ringing me out and they’re packing up EVERY ITEM IN A SINGLE PLASTIC BAG and I feel like I’m standing on the landfill just feeling like all the garbage I’m looking at, and STUPID STARTER CHECK is BACK IN LINE BEHIND ME. He’s all, hey, if you could just do one more transaction for me, because you didn’t give me the forty dollars. I was about to just shove my cart backwards into him. I pictured him falling into the gum and candy and it spilling everywhere. I don’t even know if he was trying to quick change her or if she really didn’t give him the money because I am SO TIRED I wasn’t even paying attention. But instead, we got all our bags together and left. As we were leaving, I explained to my child that the store and the bank are TWO DIFFERENT PLACES and that on a Friday after work is not a good time to try to get the store to handle a banking transaction for you. “That guy was dumb,” said D, and I had to agree.