I sat in my car and stared at the green glowing clock on my dash. It was one fifty two in the morning. There were seven other cars in the parking lot of the Albertson's market and for a split second I thought that maybe there would be a line at the check out. Of course, most of those cars were probably employees on the crappy overnight shift.

My dome light went off and sent me into darkness, that meant I'd been sitting there with my keys in my lap for longer than ninety seconds. I sighed and pushed the door open as I stepped out into the cool damp ocean air. The only reason I was even there was to possibly, maybe, go grocery shopping for myself. For the last few years I've had people go for me. Or I'd do the shopping online and pay the outrageous delivery fee to have some snot nosed sixteen year old bring them to my door.

But I missed pushing the clankety old cart up and down the aisles. Browsing, checking labels, comparing brands, buying Dreyer's mint chocolate chip ice cream on impulse, squeezing loaves of bread just to see what they felt like. I missed all of that because anytime I step into a public place I get about six seconds of "me" time before someone, or many someone's, approach me like old friends.

That sounds shallow and conceited, but it's true. The last time I set foot in this Albertson's I was on the way to a cook out at a friends house and I told them I'd bring the beer. I parked in the first spot I saw, slid my baseball cap over my hair and walked in wearing board shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops. Nothing out of the ordinary. I looked like any other beach goer hitting the store for snacks and beer. But as soon as I stepped into the alcohol aisle, three twelve year olds approached me with voices many decibels over what would be deemed publicly appropriate.

It took the better portion of thirty minutes to grab two cases of Coors Light and get back to my car. By then there was a gaggle of teens outside, apparently the cellular phone industry has found a niche in girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen.

 

But not now. Now it was too late for those kids to be out. I hoped that inside the only thing I'd find would be bored clerks and weary looking men picking up a frozen pizza for a midnight snack.

 

I opened the car door, walked to the entrance and selected a cart. Here goes nothing.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2003, Amy Lynn