Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I saw you as an old lady

Dear ____;

I saw you as an old lady in the supermarket today. You had to be 80.

Although you had an attractive thirtyish woman hovering near you, you pushed your own shopping cart into the checkout line. She placed the items on the conveyor, & put the filled plastic bags in the cart.

You were gray-haired & slightly hunched. On your head was a black beret, tilted a little. Your plain black coat, on closer examination, was a cool weather, snap up windbreaker with a double-thick collar of the type sold by Land's End. You wore a pair of funky but quality sneakers, well past original white. They looked several years old & comfortable.

You bought Quaker maple flavor single serve envelope instant oatmeal; several cans of Progresso soup; a loaf of Pepperidge Farm whole grain bread; & a few other things I couldn't see. Not much.

You also bought food for what I guessed were two cats. A small bag of Friskies, over a dozen assorted cans, all name brands. You know what they'll eat & what they won't.

As the cashier rang this stuff up, you dug around in your messy black leather handbag, muttering to yourself, & I thought, Cripes, here it comes, the wad of coupons. But you were only looking for your credit card, which for some reason was floating around loose in there. You handed it to the cashier, signed the receipt, & slowly pushed the shopping cart out the electric door followed by your young friend (who told me she was your next-door neighbor).


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