Granny Samaritan and the Frozen Steak Stir-Fry

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Close Encounters of the Third Aisle.

A refurbished post from 2009.

The supermarket and I have a love-hate relationship because I hate going. Although once I arrive, I love finding a story down one of the aisles.

“Should I choose door number one or door number two?” I wondered aloud, while in the frozen food section, studying boxed dinners through frosty glass.

A well-dressed elderly woman approached from the chicken pie side. “Those are quite good,” she said, pointing at a colorful package containing an Italian steak stir-fry. “In fact, that’s my favorite. It’s also a filling meal for one. Yes, it’s only me,” she said as her voice cracked.

Then, she turned away and stared out into space or, perhaps, another time in which one stir-fry was barely enough for two. When her thoughts returned back to earth, her eyes smiled with a memory of a moment gone by.

“Yes, the steak stir-fry is quite good,” she sighed, and inspected the shelf below where bags of tangy chicken stir-fry sat scrunched together in a row, as if the stock boy kept adding to a shelf that rarely had anything taken from it.

“Not my favorite. Don’t like really sweet things,” she said, and directed me to the soy sauce dinner to the left of it. “Now, that’s a good one, especially if you like Chinese food.”

“I like Chinese food,” I echoed.

She squinted at the price marked beneath the shelf. “You see. It’s less expensive than that one.” She motioned to the dinners in the case next door. “Too much money.” She shook her head. “I can’t afford that.”

“Who can?” I added.

She smiled and then glanced at my cart. “Looks like you have more than one mouth to feed. The stir-fry dinners are enough for two. If you have more than that, I would suggest buying two bags.”

“That’s good,” I said, and wondered, in a paranoid, skeptical way, if she wasn’t in fact an emissary from a frozen food company, maybe the mother of a CEO sent to supermarkets to help generate sales.

A brilliant marketing ploy but not ambitious enough, unless the company dispatched elderly women to supermarkets all across America. Now that would be brilliant. Who could resist advice from a kind grandmotherly type?

I opened the freezer door, bypassed the chicken, and grabbed two packages of the steak stir-fry.

“Good choice,” she said and shuffled away.

The tangy chicken would have to wait until the next time there was a change in the elderly lady rotation schedule.

Have you had any close encounters of the third aisle?

This was based upon a weekly prompt from Red Writing Hood to revise an old post.

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Checking the Rearview Mirror Back to Mayhem 2009.

traffic in the rearview mirrorImage by grendelkhan via Flickr

Back in May 2009, my Uncle Sam on my mother’s side, helped support me after Frank the baker cut off my dough and tossed me out the back door with the used doilies.

Although I am eternally grateful to my Uncle Sam for his financial help while we tube fed our bank account, he could do more to help the unemployed by euthanizing the voice mail system that causes brain decay and replacing it with one that doesn’t blight minds.

The funding could come from corporations with fat assets that profit from not paying taxes and hiring cheaper workers overseas.

VOICE MALEVOLENT

Try not to throw up until after pressing every voice mail option and screaming obscenities at the cyborg operator at the other end of the line.

  

I’m convinced that my Uncle Sam’s phone system was designed for the criminally insane or flat-lined deadbeats clinging to life support. Warning: batteries not included.

My brain almost melted after spending close to an hour on the phone with the New York State Unemployment office trying to speak with a live-bearing mammal or something with human DNA.

Instead, I listened to a monotonous voice prompt that made my head explode like a rear-ended Ford Pinto.

The voice mail options were something like . . .

•    If you’d like to continue in English, press 1 and click your heels three times.

•    If you’d like to continue in Mandarin Pig Latin, press 2.

•    If you’d like to file for unemployment benefits in this lifetime, press 3.

•    If you’d like to return to the previous nonexistent menu, press 4.

•    If you’d like to hear a list of frequently asked questions about lunch, press 5.

I chose option 6 and tossed my phone down the garbage disposal.

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When A Brain Goes MIA

If Only There Was a Lost and Found for Brains

A Computer Generated photo of what the Earth w...

I once had a brain but it went MIA above the yondering blue where the space ships cruise in weightlessness. That’s where my brain is — somewhere in space, the final frontier — floating in a vacuum of nothingness.

In space, there is no air or reason to put on airs. Everyone looks the same hermetically sealed inside a suit, if one is lucky enough to afford a suit and fasten their brain into the helmet before it drifts away. You know the one that got away. That’s my brain orbiting over Japan, Qatar then Afghanistan.

Some starched white shirts below may think my brain is a UFO. It’s happened before. We all know about Roswell, but that didn’t end well for the extraterrestrial, a.k.a. weather balloon. They’re easy to confuse when blinded by the light of a desert moon.

Luckily, my brain is stuck in orbit circumventing the earth. Still on course. Not a chance it will plummet through the atmosphere—an ambience of sorts without mahogany wood decor and the scent of brandy wafting from bore to bore. 

Out here in space, a glorious scent is benched for a view of the first string team of shooting stars, whooshing by at the speed of light through deepest dark, except for an occasional gaseous substance, a.k.a. the sun spinning on its axis. My brain has no axis to grind, soaring above the third planet from the sun, mistaking particles below for empty souls. 

If I could only see, but the fog and red tinted clouds obscure breathtaking views. I find myself pondering what I could have seen lurking beneath the convoluted atmosphere—some good, some bad, some particularly scenic overlooks off the highway. 

Perhaps rocks, and grass, fragments of automobiles and shattered glass scattered across the shoulder. I can only imagine what happened to those inside—bones and more bones vibrating against flesh, as the car smashed through a barrier and tumbled around amid shrieks and prayers and what might have beens. It’s sad really. But I don’t have the luxury of pain. My brain says it best. Keep the signals pulsating from one synapses to the next, and I will continue drifting through space, orbiting above the distant place below also known as home.

 – Have you ever lost your brain?  Inquiring minds want to know –

Damn Naggers!

carsImage by onlinewoman via Flickr

There I said it, the “N” word. Nagger! Nagger! Nagger!

Too many naggers in my life. Take my car, please.

CARL CAR
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Your seatbelt is off. Your seatbelt is off. Put on your damn seat belt.

ME
Shut up already. I got it!

CARL CAR
You don’t have to be a bitch about it. I was just trying to help.

ME
Just do what you’re supposed to do and zoom, zoom, zoom. You stupid airbag.

CARL CAR
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Breaking news! Breaking news! You forgot to remove the brake. You forgot to remove the brake.

ME
Jesus! Get a grip! Who gave you the power of speech anyway?

CARL CAR
Some guy with an engineering degree. I call him God.

ME
I call him *$#%!!

CARL CAR
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Your door is open. Your door is open.

ME
What a drama queen. So there isn’t a tight seal. It’s practically closed.

CAR
Just slam it! Then do the same with the door.

ME
You’re a real comedienne. I think I’ll drown out your nagging voice with the radio.

CARL CAR
Just keep your eye on the road.

ME
How can I with all the interruptions?

Since cars got the power of speech, they’re almost as obnoxious as the next generation of Hagstrom maps a.k.a. the GPS system.

GPS GLADYS
Make a right-turn in two-hundred feet.

ME
Got it!

GPS GLADYS
Make a right-turn in one-hundred feet.

ME
Is that before or after the 7/11?

GPS GLADYS
Get ready to make a right turn.

ME
Hand on blinker, foot eased up on gas pedal. I’m ready.

GPS GLADYS
Almost there!

ME
I’m ready when you are.

GPS GLADYS
Turn now!

ME
What? Wait! You said that after I passed the street.

GPS GLADYS
You missed it! You idiot. At the next street, take a U-turn. You’ll probably f**k that up, too.

Refrigerators are another point of contention.

FRED FRIDGE
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Red alert! Red Alert! The ice cream is melting. The ice cream is melting. Somebody call in Hazmat. Hey you, on the couch. Did you hear what I said? Get up off your fat ass and shut the damn refrigerator door. 

Thwack!

ME
Thanks Fred.

FRED FRIDGE
I should have let the ice cream melt. You could stand to lose a few pounds.

Got too many naggers in your life?

And, yes, this was a bit of a social experiment. This country is too damn politically correct.

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A Foot Faux Pas.

I took off my shoes before entering the house. Homeowner foot fetish I suspect. I’ve been down this path before, literally, and should have been more foot smart this time. But I forgot about the “no shoe” rule and the corn wrap air bag on my pinkie toe.


Because I got lost, I was the last one to arrive, having left my house without direction or directions. I asked three people on the way to guide me to house #35;  luckily two of the three Wiseman that stopped had GPS.

“It’s this way,” Wiseman #2 yelled from an open car window. “Follow me!”

I nodded and tailed him down a street with no name. Then with a wave of a hand he was gone, leaving me stranded in uncharted burb territory. Since I was hesitant to take a chance in a “no sign” zone, I continued on my quest to find another Wiseman with GPS.

This time, a truck, not a car came to my rescue, a Peapod Truck in fact, with the food already delivered. I knew this since I had stalked the driver earlier when I spotted the truck on the side of the road (I have a nose for that). With patient exuberance, I waited for Peapod Guy to finish unloading the goods.

“I’m lost,” I said.

After inputting #35 into the GPS, Peapod guy pointed down the block.

“That’s it. Over there!”

He directed me toward a familiar place. The road with no name I had hesitated to take before was in fact a portal to the shoeless universe, a suburban time continuum of sorts.

As I beamed into the foyer with all my molecules in order, I waited for the other shoe to drop, while gauging the pinkie toe situation down below.

Extricating the corn wrap by hand seemed like a viable plan, and so I gave the go ahead to special ops. But then the notion of foot-odor fingers forced me to stop. I decided to remove the wrap with my foot instead, struggling a bit until the wrap sprang from my toe, landing somewhere in the foyer.

After pinpointing the location of the wrap, I conducted living room reconnaissance on the level above. Did anyone hear the corn wrap drop? No horrified looks on the faces in the crowd. It was safe to proceed.

I snatched the wrap, clenching it in a toe death grip, and dropped it back into the shoe.

Bare feet first, I started up the stairs and approached the group with my talons in full view. Everyone sat locked in a circle of chairs, all barefooted with perfectly groomed toes. I was self conscious of mine. When was the last time I filed? I didn’t know. Likely, I needed to lop off excess nail with a hedge clipper or an electric saw.

I plopped onto the couch in between a pregnant lady and a white haired chap. I avoided temptation to assess the state of their feet then dropped my purse onto my toes to hide my unsightly claws. Good call I thought.

Across from me, a woman in shorts crossed her legs with pristine painted toes exposed. How audacious. She sat with feet pointed out toward the circle, proud of her painted toes, while I hid mine, ashamed of my deformity.

I sat with fingers clasped on my lap, afraid to move, hoping I wouldn’t get nailed. I flexed my toes beneath my purse allowing them some wiggle room, as Miss Painted Toenails dazzled the group in red acrylic splendor, her freedom feet mingling with the other toes.

Oh, how I wanted to wiggle my digits with the other happy toes but kept them sequestered until the end of the meeting.

When the other feet landed and began their exodus across the room, my toes and I ran for the entry and the safety of our shoes. Once I slipped my Quasimodo foot inside, I fled the scene of my toenail felony.

Never again, I cried on the drive back home. Before attending another meet up of naked feet, I would tow my nails to the body shop for an overhaul and paint job. 

Are you ashamed of your toes? 

Black And True And Weird All Over.

The weirdness of life continues to dog me. Yes, its bark is as bad as its bite, and it’s also a terrible mouser.

Five minutes ago, my cat sauntered into the kitchen and dropped a mouse and leaf on the floor. I don’t know if my cat is near-sighted, thought that she bagged two mice or that the mouse was stupid, thought the leaf was aerodynamic and could float away on it.

In any case, once the cat dropped the mouse, the two mutts entered the scene, scaring the cat, mouse and me who scattered off into different directions. The cat to the living room, the mouse to the basement, and me to the TV room where I grabbed my husband by the shirt sleeve while he laid horizontally on the coach in a television haze.

I said, “Mouse, kitchen.”

He said, “Cheese. What the two have in common?”

“No, damn it! There’s a mouse in the kitchen.”

At, which point, hubby jumped off the couch, because he feared for his life, and ran into the kitchen to find the dog that wasn’t lost and in fact stood only ten feet away. “Jenny,” he coaxed. “Get it! Get it!”

Well, apparently, she didn’t get it or the mouse which disappeared into the basement. Time to get the Terminator – D-Con or ex-con or Conan the Barbarian.

Speaking of disappearing. Earlier in the week, I had an appointment with a new doctor who reminded me more of a bureaucrat than a medicine man, and so I fired him after the cursory evaluation. “Shit. Shit. Shit,” I muttered in my head. “What a piece of crap doctor.”

When I got home, I looked the doctor up on the Internet – nothing like doing DD after the fact – And saw that one of the doc’s degrees was in Zoology. That’s when I went ape shit. So, I guess we were a good match. His face and my … never mind.

Going out on a limb and swinging on to the next mind numbing experience.  Last night, my blog was in the black. No, it didn’t turn a profit. It was one big black glob (word scramble) of nothing. I thought I had been Goth hacked. After going through the two levels of denial: “Not mine. Maybe mine,” I reached acceptance. “Shit mine.”

Then I panicked. Raced around the house screaming, “My blog is gone. My blog is gone,” until my rational side threw cold water in my face and said, “Stop being a drama queen and do something.”

So, I did something that the prosecutor in the Casey Anthony trial wasn’t able to do. I solved the case. I found MyBlogLog DNA in my blog template and extracted it. Voila! My blog came back from the black.

End of extemporaneous blather.