I can't wait to grow old together... my stories and I

August 18, 2008
By Ali Cohen SILVER, Rockville, Maryland
Ali Cohen SILVER, Rockville, Maryland
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Haven't we all noticed the electric shopping carts at our local grocery stores? Haven't we all wanted to ride in one, and maybe, feel like we were a little on the wild side of grocery shopping? I got my chance, and in result got to witness a reaction far more impacting than the usual disdain I receive caused by my normal destruction of property. I met a woman I think I would consider my favorite senior citizen (I use the word “citizen” loosely because I’m not quite sure where this woman was from) and not only did she confirm to me there was wild side of grocery shopping, she showed me what it was to age manically and frenzied and, in that, what it was to age gracefully and beautifully.

It was quite recent when my friend Yvonne and I went to Shoppers to purchase only the finest orange tic-tacs. While eyeing the gumball machine I held the door for Yvonne, an elder man, and an elder woman. The older man seemed to be struggling with his shopping cart and I was wondering if there was an acrobatic maneuver I could somehow perform to not only hold the door, but also push the man’s cart for him. I realized the thought was absurd, because no one could expect me to push this man’s cart for him throughout his entire grocery-shopping-odyssey, and then I admitted to myself that I was only trying to find an excuse to attempt an acrobatic maneuver for an audience. I, shamefully, was reflecting on this despicable sin when the older woman entering behind him caught my attention. They were in no way arriving together. As the man was having trouble leading and controlling the shopping cart, the woman’s shopping cart was having trouble leading and controlling her. The woman was wearing lime green spandex pants that cut off mid-shin, a purple polo, and a black and white feathered scarf that from a distance could easily be mistaken for a boa. There was no doubt in my mind that, like my mother, this woman probably had hoards of sparkling tiaras at her house. I wouldn’t hold glittery rhinestones past her either.

As she walked by me, I strained to listen to what she was mumbling.
"To the windows... to the walls, the walls, the walls.
Sweat drips down and I call
I ski, ski, ski, ski,.” Or at least that’s what I thought I heard. Now, this wasn't the first time I ran into an older woman reciting butchered, and hardly the same, rap lyrics. And who am I to judge how she dresses? I can hardly decide in the morning between what solid-colored-fabric I want to engulf my body with or whether or not I should just roll out of bed without changing my clothes at all.

I went about my business “harassing” the cashiers and buying my daily bulk supply of tic-tacs. However, it was the two empty electric shopping carts that caught my eye, and my desire. At that moment, it suddenly seemed as if I would trade ALL the orange tic tacs in the world for just one ride upon this fine piece of machinery. And that’s precisely what I did, without the trading of the tic-tacs. Instead, fair trade, I bargained with my common sense, letting it go completely. After I climbed aboard the electric shopping cart that had to have been made by NASA, or God Himself, I was surprised there was no gas pedal. Then I remembered, in addition to those whose legs tire out aisle by aisle, these shopping carts are also for people with no legs at all! I leaned forward looking for some sort of an "ON" button when the cart jutted forward. I discovered you only press these yellow levers forward on the hand grip to rev up and dart forward. I discovered this, what I’m guessing is, $100 too late.

I thought I would take it slow, driving an electric shopping cart for my first time and all, but when I abruptly shot forward screaming bloody murder, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. For the first time in my life I couldn’t wait until I was old, or lost a leg or two I suppose. Within just two seconds the cart contracted backwards and the front two wheels of the cart were airborne. I’d say I lifted a stunning 3 inches or so. Part of me felt free and part of me was scared out of my mind...and out of my dollar-store sunglasses I bought just hours earlier. Well, an eternity of flight came to a stop after about half a second. There was a thud, and surprisingly the cart fell to the ground after the thud.

After I got my pulse back, I looked back at Yvonne. She's very good at staying passive. She was passive even as she looked away from me and kicked something toward me. As un-passive and out of control I am, in her shoes, I would have only created another scene caused by the pain in my foot because what she kicked toward me was a slab of concrete, which I examined and determined to be the electrical socket. I’d like to think she was kicking it toward me so I could calculate my damage, but I know in the back of my mind she just didn’t want to be associated with the concrete or be seen with it. I followed the chewed up looking wires from the slab to the wall, or what was left of it. There was about a 1x1ft hole in which the electrical socket used to be along with other, now, miscellaneous debris. I was so eager to ride around like the little maniac I was, and forgot to unplug the electrical shopping cart. I thought to myself, “These carts are way too powerful and way to fast.”. What if the wrong person got a hold of these monstrous machines? Say, some rambunctious teenager putting holes into walls?

Seconds later, the same intriguing woman I held the door for walked by me eyeing the destruction. I was nervous about what she might say, or report, but found myself comforted when I found her discreet smile hidden under all the messy and clumped maroon lipstick.
“I started young too. Couldn’t stand the mundaneness of a daily routine. Of coarse when I was young we didn’t have electric shopping carts but we always find a way don’t we?” I gaped at her playful and empathetic commentary. Am I going to grow up to be like this woman? Will rap lyrics get garbled in my head? Because they are squished? Because they are cramped, sharing space with so many colorful stories and experiences? I’m ready for this. I can’t wait.

The author's comments:
I continue to build my collection of stories...and I took responsibilty and repercussions for the damages at Shoppers.

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