My life generates constant deadline pressure, and not just at the newspaper.
This is especially the set of circumstances when Better Half and I are grocery shopping and a quart or two of Breyer’s chocolate peanut butter ice cream is on the list of things to get.
This is a very strategic, calculated purchase that obviously involves making that the very last thing you put in the buggy because your best intentions are to make a beeline to a checkout line at that point.
Get going and get home. No monkeying around.
Better Half will consult with me to make sure we’re done shopping and ready to tally up the damages and chip away at retirement savings before he’ll open the freezer doors and reach in for this must-have dessert, as much a staple of the Kiaski household as butter or flour are in some people’s pantries.
It’s as if we’re executing a play in a football game, and the goal line — the big understood expectation here for me — is no stopping to talk to anybody and risk the ice cream and Better Half having a major meltdown.
Well, I can’t help it if we live in an area where people are generally friendly and want to talk. Plus, I pretty much have a message on my forehead that reads: Will stop to BS whether I know you or not.
Ever the protector of ice cream, though, Better Half will give me the let’s-go-and-get-in-line look in the store once the ice cream is in the buggy where it’s deliberately grouped with other kind-of-cold items for maximum protection — a tub of butter, eggs, yogurt, cheese. Whatever.
I move along and try not to recognize anyone and behave as if this is polite society I live in and there are people I’m passing by to whom I could smile and exchange pleasantries, say hello there, how’s it going?
“Sorry, we have ice cream” seems like such a shallow excuse for not communicating with our fellow shopping population.
I pick a line, any line, figuring I might as well be blindfolded because I can’t pick a line as far as one being better than the other. All grocery lines are created equal. You just wait your turn.
I’ll be standing in one, though, and out of the corner of my eye I’ll sense that Better Half has relocated to another checkout line and is desperately trying to get my attention.
Come over to this one, he urges without any words at all said, just these motions with his arms and hands as if he’s directing airplane traffic on a runway.
So I comply and move over, being part of this ice cream-saving mission. I have my responsibilities here after all.
We laugh at our efforts and ourselves because a line is a line is a line.
On a recent outing for ice cream and other stuff, I broke the rules and spoke briefly not only to the kind cashier, but to the woman behind me in line, both of whom I did not know, but they said they liked reading what’s in this space. I hope I thanked them properly despite our preoccupation to keep the ice cream from becoming a milkshake before its time.
As we were leaving, passing by the ice machine, Better Half the comedian asked if he should grab a bag of ice to take with us, a suggestion that didn’t make sense to me.
“You might need it for the swelling,” he said smiling, pointing to my head.
Very funny, I laughed, but not necessary, I assured him. I’ll just use the ice cream.