Cracker Display

Victories! Today I wrote out a list, followed the list, and never once lost my basket during this trip to Safeway. I’m really getting this adult shit figured out. Gold star for me.

Though the store is pretty busy, I manage to luck out and find a line with only one dude ahead of me, and he’s  only buying gum. Ruling!

I put all my grocery items down on the conveyor belt, and  proceed to space out at tabloid headlines, until I hear a male voice behind me say, quite loudly. “I know, AND she cut in line in front of me.”

Things come sharply into focus. Surely he couldn’t mean….but of course not!

I turn to face him, and this backwards-baseball hat guy is  giving me this “yawha, right,  you and me breh” smirky nod.

“I didnt’ cut in front of you, man,” I laugh. (Because, how absurd!)

“You kinda did.”


“Actually you did,” says the gum dude in line ahead of me. “He was right around the corner on the other side of the cracker display.”

“Oh mannnn,” I say, realizing it must be true. I didn’t see him! Horrors!

The  broheim smirks and nods some more, like see breh, I got backup on this shit.  He then gestures to the two or three things in his huge shopping cart (a bottle of tonic water, and a grapefruit) , and then to the 47 things I had stacked on the conveyor belt like ultimate jenga, and then back to his giant, mostly empty cart.

I take a moment to pause. Should I take all my shit off the conveyor belt and offer the broheim a spot ahead of me? Is that what I’m supposed to do here?

I can feel myself starting to sweat. Not good. I can tell from the sweating that I’m getting nervous. I’ve obviously in the wrong here, and the fucking line is not moving. 

I enter some quick data into my brain calculator. “Dear brain calculator: What is likely to happen if I remove these groceries right now,  and get let the broheim put his tonic water and grapefruit down ahead of me?”


“Dear Arlene:  it is 98 percent LIKELY if you decide to do this,  you will succumb to  panic,  pull the bottom out of your jenga tower (possibly the milk) in one spastic move , and the rest of your groceries will come toppling over onto you. You’ll be chasing rolling cans of tomatoes through the aisles with various shoppers either laughing at, or pitying you because you’re having a special needs hour. It is not a dignified course of action, in my opinion. Fuck the broheim. He should have told you you were cutting in front of him BEFORE you put all your shit down.”

“Thank you brain calculator,” I say, under my breath. (Note: all of this advanced processing happened in about 3 seconds)

I’m all about dignity these days. I decide to stay.

The conveyor belt moves slightly, and  now there’s  more than enough space for the broheim to put his two dumb things down.

But he doesn’t. He just stands there behind his shopping cart, not moving.

I playfully spank the empty space on the conveyor belt, in a “c’mon bruh, let’s hug it out” gesture.

He shakes his head. Man, he must really be upset at all of this! Jesus.

“You know, I really, honestly didn’t see you there, behind the crackers” I said, trying to smile as sweetly as I possibly can, feeling flames on all sides of my face. 

“It’s okay. You—you  look like you’ve got more important things to do than me anyway”

“Thank you for noticing,” I say, trying to match his phony niceness. “I probably do.”

“Yup, yup, that I could tell,” He says nodding sarcastically at my sweatshirt, which has a picture of a cartoon pelican with a huge dank nug in its claw) 

The line is still slow. I can feel my adrenaline is surging now.  When get this way, I sometimes turn into what I refer to, as  THE MAD COW.  I’m trapped. I panic. 

I can feel something really stupid is about to happen in 3-2-1……..

And then, seeing a pumpkin noosa yogurt and cilantro bunch go by (which are exactly two of the 47 things in my jenga grocery stack) on the grocery scanner I start thinking for a second that they are my things somehow, but????!!! (not possible/possible??!!) I lurch violently forward, and say “Whoa!” Cuz now I’m definitely in gum guys space.

The gum guy looks down at me, like, hey, am I going to have to tranquilize you bitch?

“Oh god. I’m sorry, look at me, now I’m trying to cut in front of you! HAHAHAHAHAHAH. I just thought that yogurt was mine, cuz, I got the same yogurt as the guy ahead of you.  HAHAHA. Noosa is good yogurt”

Nobody’s laughing. And the gum guy doesn’t give a shit about my noosa yogurt. Why should he? I’m a line cutter.

Before I leave, I once again apologize to the broheim for cutting in line. Even though by then I am convinced he was just a passive aggressive douchebag.


About ArleneShirlee

Hello. I live in Oakland. I write, I rap, I play drums, and I do some neat party tricks.
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