The world spins madly on

I had a day off from work on Monday. So I dropped off Phoebe at the daycare and did a few errands before heading home …

It’s worth noting I hate going to Wal-mart. Everything about it annoys me. The impatient and ornery crowds. The long lines. The incompetent clerks. The corporate reputation and labor practices. Pretty much the whole atmosphere.

So I try to avoid the store at all costs.

But I needed a couple household items. I was in the area. And it was early enough in the day that I thought I’d brave it …

I walked through the doors at almost exactly 8 a.m. The store was nearly empty of customers; a group of employees were having some sort of morning pep rally in the jewelry section. This is interesting, I thought, I may have finally found a decent time that I can sort of stand coming to this place.

Think again.

When I got ready to check out a large, middle-aged, black woman -- it's just a description, people -- was chewing out an employee and threatening to call the corporate office because there were only two registers open. At one of them, the clerk’s machine wasn’t accepting credit cards; at the other the clerk was too busy talking to pay attention to the customer who was now chewing out the employee …

Finally, the woman went to the register that wasn’t accepting credit cards, ranting and grumbling all the way through the line while I fell in behind her.

I had planned to pay with a credit card. But under the circumstances, I paid cash and got the heck out of there.

* * *

Kates and I have been gradually returning to our celebrated Chinese food nights … The kind we used to have all the time before we had Phoebe, Kates’s blood pressure skyrocketed, we went on a low-sodium diet for a few months and the economy went so sour that we cut back on a lot of unnecessary purchases. Like Chinese food.

When times were good, it seemed sometimes as though we were single-handedly keeping that place down the street in business.

And now we’re back baby!

Kates called in the order, and I headed out to pick it up.

As I paid for our order tonight, the Chinese girl whose always working the counter but whose name I do not know says, “Haven’t seen you in awhile.”

Somewhat surprised that she’d noticed -- but then again, not really -- I answered “Ah, yeah, we’ve been around … We’ve just been cutting back I guess, with the economy and all.”

“Yeah, a lot of people have been doing that,” the girl said.

She swiped my debit card, had me sign the receipt and handed me our paper bag of wonderfully smelling, mouth-watering piles of delicous-ness.

“Well, it was good to see you again.”

“Yeah, you too,” I said before heading out the door.

I thought it was classic. When I told Kates at home, she burst out laughing.

* * *

Highlights from a stack of police reports I read this morning …

Firefighters extinguished a small fire on an elementary school tennis court. Someone had built the fire with oatmeal and cheese.

A bunch of kids jumped another kid in a gas station parking lot and knocked him unconscious. When police asked the ringleader why he did it, the kid said he just didn’t like the other boy and he was having a bad day.

A man heard a car door slam outside his house and looked through the window to see a burglar inside his truck. So the man grabbed his car keys and repeatedly pressed the remote lock button to contain the burglar in the truck until police arrived.

A couple of men were caught lighting fireworks outside an apartment complex at 1:30 in the morning. When police asked them if they knew possessing fireworks was illegal, let alone why they were lighting them at 1:30 a.m., the men were dumbfounded.

And a mother refused to buy her son a dog. So he went ballistic, trashed his sisters’ rooms, flipped mattresses, smashed things on dressers and then ran outside and threatened to shoot up the house.

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