Friday, October 14, 2005

When Grannies Attack

I stopped in Kroger (an American grocery store chain) yesterday on my way home from work to pick up a couple of last minute items for last night’s dinner. As I was standing in front of a cooler containing some new salsa flavors I had not seen before, I was hit from behind so hard that I nearly fell face first into the Mexican condiments. After regaining my balance, I spun around with my blood up, expecting to lay a verbal bludgeoning upon an unruly ten-year-old tearing through the store with an unsteerable shopping cart and an infuriating lack of adult supervision. Instead, I found myself face to face with an ancient blue-haired geriatric whose head was cocked hard over and resting upon her right shoulder with the tip of her tongue protruding slightly out of the corner of mouth while a little pool of drool leaked out and ran slowly down her cheek to beneath her chin. She was perched upon one of those electric shopping vehicles for handicapped customers (or those of us who like to occasionally to embark upon a midnight two-mile-per-hour tear through the liquor aisle when no one’s looking) which she had somehow put into reverse after hitting me and was backing away towards the vegetable stands.

I watched in stunned silence as she slithered around and narrowly missed a couple of fellow patrons before backing into large bin of potatoes and tried to figure out how she ended up there. I wondered if she had somehow escaped from her senior shopping group and was desperately trying to make a break for freedom but, lacking the mental capacity she may have had 60 years before, any semblance of hand / eye coordination and possessing no driving ability whatsoever, was succeeding in little more than making a mess of Kroger’s produce section. Then I wondered if she might have been having a stroke or heart attack or something else requiring instant medical attention that had best be administered by someone else since I had forgotten all the emergency first aid I had been taught while in the service and was at the time too entertained by the spectacle to raise an alarm. Then I wondered if this was some kind of fraternity prank where the boys from Delta House liberated some curmudgeonly vegetable from a local mental institution, put her in the driver’s seat of an electric vehicle and unleashed upon a group of Kroger shoppers to see what kind of hilarity would ensue. I looked around to see if there was anyone around resembling the cast of Animal House, because if this was some sort of joke, the perpetrators of it deserved an enthusiastic handshake for comedic brilliance.


As I was looking for the frat brothers, I saw the old lady had put the cart back into drive was now moving forward, heading right for me. It was then that I realized that this lady was not making an escape, having a stroke nor was she the victim of the best prank in the history of the Greek system. This bitch had completely flipped out and the savagely psychotic centegenarian was trying to take me out. I found myself in a position where I was forced to consider actions to defend myself.

Now, I had only been dispatched to the grocery to pick up three items so I did not have much of an arsenal to work with. I had a bag of lettuce, which was utterly worthless in Kroger combat, and a clove of garlic which, unless this blue-haired woman was one of Count Dracula’s macabre minions, was unlikely to be of much help either. There was a can of mushrooms on my list, which could have done double duty as a lethal missile if properly slung out of a plastic produce bag, but I had not gotten that far down on my list yet. I had to look for weaponry that was not contained in my plastic shopping basket. Something close at hand that would stop that charging beast dead in her tracks, or at least knock her off of her present course and into someone other than myself.

I was disheartened to find that I did not have many options close at hand. The salsas I was looking at were of the gourmet variety and packaged in flimsy clear plastic containers instead of the sturdier glass bottles that the mass-produced, cheaper stuff was sold in. Granted, these would undoubtedly be much messier than the stuff in glass jar but they lacked stopping power. They would probably accomplish little more than pissing her off. Across the aisle, closer to the cash registers, was a display showing off some samples of baked goods. The French bread would undoubtedly not have much effect, nor would the apple pie though at least the latter would provide for ample amusement if there were any slapstick fans within eyeshot.

I contemplated taking flight and hiding out in the frozen foods aisle. I also thought about trying to ascend to high ground, perhaps taking a perch up the breakfast shelves and assaulting her with bottles of pancake syrup if she got too close. I even considered dumping over a bin of gumballs or spilling a couple gallons of milk in front of her in the hopes of inducing a spin-out but both items were nowhere in sight. This may seem like an awful lot of things to think about while one is in the process of being run down by a homicidal geriatric, but this whole scenario seemed to play itself out in slow motion, a phenomena that is common in people that find themselves facing injury under the wheels of a vehicle that really doesn’t move all that fast.

In the end though, all I did was wait a couple of minutes until she was almost on top of me and took a couple of small steps to my left to get out of her way, correctly guessing that she did not have the reflexes to steer back into me. She hit the salsa cooler and then backed up until she baked goods display. At that point I caught the attention of a nearby cashier and let her know that we had a mad matron on the loose among the vegetables. The cashier apparently knew the woman as she called her by name before steering her towards a checkout counter with an aisle wide enough to accommodate the handicapped shopping cart and asked her if her daughter was nearby. Apparently the clerks were fooled by her façade of innocence and ignorant of her homicidal tendencies.

I bet that as soon as that old lady was out of eyeshot though, she let out a maniacal laugh, snorted a couple lines of Preparation H, beer-bonged 40 ounces of Metamucil and took her little trolley of terror out to a local playground to try to murder some unwary kindergartners that were oblivious to the predator that stalked them. That hag’s not fooling me a bit though.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a phenomena that is common in people that find themselves facing injury under the wheels of a vehicle that really doesn’t move all that fast.

Comedic and literary brilliance. Nuff said

9:58 AM  
Blogger JEP said...

Thanks lob! How's the hangover today?

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Jasco said...

Oh man! With your literary brilliance and my overactive, graphic imagination I am immersed in some strange python-esque skit.

Awesome.

12:58 AM  
Blogger JEP said...

It was a kind of surreal moment.

8:49 PM  

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