Today I got to buy a man’s groceries. At the checkout I had been forced to go back twice; the second time I grabbed a smaller pack of tp as I realized I wasn’t willing to bike through the screaming wind with a giant 24-pack toilet paper “sail” balanced on my handlebars. When I came to the checkout a man in a motorized scooter had taken my place (which was fine, of course). We waited and waited and when it was finally his turn he held up a food assistance card (we have electronic food stamps in washington state). The checker said with compassion, “Those aren’t working. Anywhere in town. Something wrong with the state.” There was a brief pause as this man considered his groceries and said, “Um well, I guess forget it then.”
I stepped forward. “I’d like to buy his groceries,” I offered. The checker gave a brief glance, nodded, and started ringing me up. The man tried to look over his shoulder at me as he said, “Oh, that’s not necessary.” I touched his shoulder and said, “No, I’d like to.” (touching someone gently often softens them, I’ve found). The checker piped up, “Happy Father’s Day!” and the man laughed and everything moved forward. His bill was only three items: a gallon of milk, a pack of hot dogs, and some Lay’s chips (an excellent lunch, I might add). It only took a minute and I wrote my check for his items and mine.
After the man scooted off the checker said, “That was nice,” and I said, “Yeah well, I appreciate it when someone helps me out.” “You never know,” she said (inexplicably). I was happy because how often do we get a chance to help someone? Usually when the situation presents and the impulse strikes I literally don’t have the means to do it or I just am too shy and the moment passes. Besides, I have had to leave groceries before when my card was declined or some other minor financial drama and I know how much it fucking sucks.
Last night I made vegweb’s “Outrageously Easy BIG Bread” (my version and method here). Currently Ralph is following instructions for homemade falafel with cucumber sauce (I’ll be sure to report if it’s better than the mix); we’re also having Israeli couscous and Korean cucumber salad. Our kitchen smells so good – garlic, cucumber, cumin, broth – and it’s extra awesome he’s doing the work of cooking.