dreaming at smith’s

A few weeks ago, I was at the grocery, humming my way through the fluorescent aisles; then made my way to the check out with my carefully chosen array of goodies that smiled sweetly at me, sure I would provide them with a happy place in my constitution, in exchange for their provision of life force.

I stood in line behind an elderly woman as the young man at the register cheerfully bantered with the even younger guy, bagging her groceries.  My eyes grazed across “Julia Roberts - the  Most Beautiful Woman,” “Oprah’s Secret to Success,” “Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart, Stirring it Up in the Kitchen,” and other brightly colored magazine covers, built to entice, but for me, they are only a source of temporary amusement to draw my mind away from the list of things I need to get done today, or checking to make sure I got everything I came for.

My ears perk to the playful spirit that lilts in the voices of the two young men.  “Check it out.  I haven’t seen this all summer,” the cashier says as he picks up a seemingly ordinary clear plastic bag of green grapes, and sets them on the built-in scale at the end of the conveyer belt.  “Cotton candy grapes!  Shoot, these are the bomb!”  he continues.  “Did you know we had these?” he says to screen, as he punches buttons.

“No, man,” retorts the bagger.

“How much are they? I didn’t see a price,” inquires the old lady.

He answers, and she responds, “I didn’t know they were so much.  I don’t want them.”

“You sure?  They taste just like cotton candy!” he says in zealous disbelief.

“No, they’re too expensive,” she replies, unmoved.

“I’ll take them!” I chime, stoked at the possibility of eating fruit that tastes like sweet puffy pink clouds.  “I’ve never heard of them.”

“OK!” says the cashier as he hands them over to me and continues checking out the lady.

I can’t wait to taste them, so I eat one, of course.  My taste buds do a triple summersault.  “Wow!  These are incredible!” I exclaim as I offer grapes to the couple behind me whose curiosity peaks at my excitement.

“Which way would you want?” says the bagger to the gray-haired lady casually, as he places her bags into her cart.

“What?” she says blankly.

“Which way … which way would you pick?” he repeats, swaying his body to emphasize his words.

“Like what super-power would you want?” clarified the cashier, as if this would be all the befuzzled lady would need to make things come back into focus, in her world.  She, of course, continues to stare blankly at them.

“Like I’d choose Transformer,” proceeded the casher, as he hands her her receipt.  “I could turn myself into anything!”

“I’d be Annihilator,” joins the bagger, in complete solemnity, placing the last bag into her cart.  The lady slowly rolls her cart away, not sure of what had just happened, perhaps contemplating getting new batteries for her hearing aids.

“Which way would you want?” the cashier asks, raising his deep brown eyes to meet mine, as I roll up to face him.

“I’d be Cotton Candy!” I say, as I hand both of them a pluck of grapes from my lucky bag of treasure.  “I could spread cotton candy everywhere I went!”

We all laugh and squish juicy cotton candy between our teeth that spill into more giggles.

You just never know what Universe you’ll step into, on a bright summer New Mexico afternoon.


Thanks to the following for images: