The Long Wait

There you are, standing at the back of an eight-person line. The register is only fifteen feet away, but it might as well be fifteen miles. You try pretending like it's not that bad. That of course fails as you observe how slowly your fellow patrons in front of you are moving. A series of sighs and groans leave your mouth, albeit under your breath.

All you have is a gallon of milk. You've needed this milk all week, but you thought, "I can wait. I've got all week." Now the week's over. Way to go. I guess you didn't learn your lesson from that one time you had all week to get gas for your car.

You look down at your now lukewarm milk and then look back up. You wonder if the line has somehow gotten longer. Everyone in front of you has a full cart. Well, not everyone. Mr. "I just got a welfare check" right in front of you has two carts. Now's the time when you wonder how much you even like milk.

Fifteen minutes pass. Another five more. Now, the only person in front of you is the able-bodied man under Uncle Sam's care. It hits you that you are paying for his groceries. You do your best to resist the urge to pour your gallon of milk all over the contents of his carts.

At least there are now some people behind you. You know you shouldn't enjoy their misfortune as much as you do, but it feels nice to not be the low man on the totem pole anymore.

It's been about ten minutes -- or three hours, it all feels the same to you -- and the clerk is only three-quarters of the way through his first cart, which is filled with all individual items. Also, your new friend/dependent has naturally been contesting the price of nearly every item the cashier has scanned. No, you're not dead and in hell, but this might as well be a preview of what hell is.

All hope seems lost. You're considering getting on your knees and praying -- but, wait, what's that to your right? They just turned the light on for the "ten items or less" aisle, and you're standing across from the clerk. Hallelujah. You juke for the register like a dog for a tree and smack your gallon of milk on the counter, marking your territory. You glance back at the other register to see all the poor souls you left behind. On their faces are mixed expressions of jealously and confusion as to why you thought that awkward sideways jump to the aisle was necessary. You don't care what they think. It only makes you feel even more triumphant.

Well, you paid for your milk, and now you are on your way out. The thought of flipping off the guy with the two carts crosses your mind. You decide against it. Your tax refunds might be smaller because he likes to play the system, but you don't want to be known as the person who flipped the bird at a man the government considers to be disabled. You know how people like to conveniently miss the whole picture.

Okay, you've had enough of this place. Time to get in your car, which is probably sun-roasted by now, and make for home. Just please, for the sake of everything that is holy, don't ever forget to buy the milk again. 

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