I live such an eventful life. Take yesterday morning at the grocery store…the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I was there before nine. I knew the one item I had to have would be scarce and in demand: chopped onions. I hate to chop onions! No matter how often I tell myself not to blink, I always end up rubbing at my eyes until they sting and painful tears blur my vision of my smelly fingers. I was so happy when grocery stores started carrying previously chopped ones. But I’ve learned the hard way–you have to get them early or they’re off the shelves.
Once in the store, I made a beeline to the produce section. It was packed. And packed with people who looked like they needed a mental health professional immediately. I zigzagged through them as if I were in contention for the Heisman Trophy, but as I approached my goal, I saw a man headed in the same direction. He beat me by an arm’s length, scooping up four boxes of chopped onions and celery.
Meanwhile, I could see in my peripheral vision that a woman was coming up beside me.
As I picked up the one remaining square box and put it in my cart, I smilingly said, “Wow, this is such a popular spot today. It’s a good thing there’s lots more chopped onion containers over here. Otherwise we might have had to share.”
The man, horrified by the “share” word, clutched his boxes to his chest. “These are a combination of chopped onions and celery,” he clarified. Then he hurried away.
I turned to roll my eyes at the woman behind me. We smiled and she shrugged her shoulders in that “what can you do?” kind of shrug. That’s when I noticed she didn’t really have any arms. And her hands had only three fingers on them. (I didn’t want to be rude so I didn’t look that closely, but I’m pretty sure one hand had a thumb.)
I leaned over and picked up the last box of chopped onions and celery from my cart. “Here you go,” I said, handing it to her.
“Thank you.” She held up her hands. “I can do it, but it is a little difficult for me to manage chopping all this.”
Somehow I found myself holding up my five healthy, if arthritic fingers, and saying, “I bet! I can barely do it with all ten of these.”
Now, you may think this was an awkward thing to say, but somehow it was exactly right. I wasn’t pretending not to notice her lack of appendages and she seemed to appreciate it. We chatted for a few minutes about Thanksgiving and grandchildren and then went on our ways.
As I told my daughter the story, I realized this was another Curb Your Enthusiasm episode in my life. Can’t you just imagine the greedy man as Larry David?