I hate Wild Oats.
I know - "hate" is an incredibly emotional word. I shouldn't just throw around because it carries a lot of weight and power. I usually try to limit my use of "hate" for those things that really deserve it: white jeans, bad blond highlights, peep-toe shoes in Winter (HAVE YOU PEOPLE NO SHAME???).
But just now, at Wild Oats, I felt hate in a big way. Here's why:
It's lunchtime in Salt Lake City, and I have 2 options for organic-ish cuisine. The Oasis - a delightful restaurant - takes too long, so Wild Oats it is. As I steer into the too-small parking lot of the too-expensive food conglomerate, I am forced to slam on my brakes because the guy in front of me stops short. Aha! He's noticed a woman walking to her car parked in a nearby spot, and because he can't be bothered to walk more than 15 feet from parking space to food merchant, he causes a traffic back-up that reaches into the main road.
I park in my usual spot, waaaaaaay over there. I like parking far away because it reminds me to be grateful for my healthy body and my ability to walk long(ish) distances. Plus, it allows me to judge the seemingly able-bodied lazy people who take up all the front-and-center spots, forcing old people to walk farther than is probably advisable.
Once inside the store, after I recover from walking into a wall of patchouli, I head to the deli counter. No browsing today - I'm busy at work, so it's in and out. I patiently* wait my turn , and once the mouthbreather behind the counter understands that the woman in front of me wants her sandwich "TO GO" but "WITH NO MAYO," he turns to me.
"Hi, I'd like a small container of the Sonoma Chicken Salad."
"Hey, didn't I meet you at the Depot?" Mouthbreather is staring, all slackjawed and blank-eyed, at my face. He is temporarily taken back to some night at the Depot (local music venue) when he met someone who in some way maybe resembled me, probably because she also happened to be female and alive.
"No, you didn't. Just a small container of Sonoma Chicken Salad, please."
"Cuz you totally look like this chick I met there. Maaary? Jenniferrrr? Saaaarah?"
Remember all that patience I was displaying? Well, neither do I, but if I HAD BEEN being patient, rest assured, I wasn't now. "I'm sorry, but I really need to get back to work. I'm quite sure that I've never met you - I mean, you're like 12 and I'm 30 - so could I please just have a small container of Sonoma Chicken Salad? There are lots of people in line."
There are. And they are evenly split between laughing at me and glaring at me. I hate them all.
"Yeah, dude, no worries. What do you want again?"
Jesus Christ. "No worries" (which is a close second to "it's all good" on my list of things-people-say-that-makes-me-want-to-punch-them) is bad enough, but to then forget what I'd asked him for no less than three times, less than 5 seconds ago, well...this is why it sometime sucks to not just eat ramen noodles everyday.
After a few more moments of similar polite and jovial banter, I head toward the cash register, Sonoma Chicken Salad in hand. I'm so desperate to get out of the store I don't even pause to consider buying a chocolate covered graham cracker or an Uncle Eddie's cookie for dessert.
After waiting in line behind a man who had taken the time to select and bag numerous items from the bulk food aisle, but not to write down or remember their codes, I watch the cashier attempt to bag those many little parcels of seeds and nuts and grains and twigs. When, on his 4th go, he successfully lands each bag into the shopper's grocery tote, I almost applaud his fine display of both agility and efficiency. Then it dawns on me that this is no ordinary cashier. This is a man who has very recently smoked such copious amounts of weed that he can neither open his eyes nor stop laughing.
For the love of god. I don't care if you smoke pot. I don't care if you bake it into brownies or take massive and frequent hits out of a 5 foot bong. Whatever works for you. Be my guest.
But really, being this stoned at work? Is this what we're doing now?
This guy is completely obliterated. He can't type on the cash register - which is "so hilarious, dude"- and he can barely scan the container. When he finally looks up at me, presumably to tell me the price, he pauses, looks momentarily befuddled, then bemused. Instead of asking for $4 or 5 dollars or however much the chicken salad cost (what, is it made of gold?), he cocks his dreadlocks to one side and asks, "Didn't I meet you at the Depot?"
*By "patiently," I mean that I tap my boots and check my email and sigh and cross and uncross my arms. I would make a big show of checking my watch, too, but I left it in Lizzie's car so I can't.