Friday, June 16, 2006

The confines of ullage

You are using your razor-sharp logistical skills in order to fit $173.76 worth of groceries into the back of a Mini Cooper. You are sort of humming and sort of singing "Time will Tell," by the Black Crowes.

Just as you are basking in the satisfaction of fitting a plastic jug of milk into a space specifically defined by the walled confines of the hatchback and a bag containing Cocoa Pebbles, a box of Kashi breakfast pilaf and two boxes of frozen pretzels, a voice comes at you from behind.

"Excuse me."

You turn to find an ordinary looking woman behind a shopping loaded with bags that looks much like yours.

"Yes?" you say, trying not to think about the Edy's Double-Churned French Vanilla and the photons of sunlight cascading upon the carton in which it is contained.

"Are you familiar with the Arts and Entertainment Network?" says the woman.

You puzzle for a moment over fielding this question in the parking lot of the Tops Supermarket. "Er … yes," you say. "Yes I am."

"There's this one show on there?" continues the woman. "It's sort of like a lawyer show? On the Arts and Entertainment Network? Do you know the one I mean?"

"I'm not sure I do," you say.

"Oh," says the woman, deflating. "I was wondering if you knew it because I wanted to find out the name of the theme song to that show. I love that theme song." The woman mumble-hums some cryptic notes.

You blink as you process this and stop yourself from saying, "I can name that tune in seven notes!" Instead, you say, "Theme song, huh?" and wonder if you are on Candid Camera. "That's a toughie," you add, which is simultaneously moronic and appropriate.

"It's like a lawyer thing?" she says. "You know?" she continues with an earnest look and slowly begins bobbing her head. She recommences humming.

Edy's Double Churned French Vanilla. Photons. Blinking. Processing.

You sigh.

Why me?

"What you might do," you say because you are you and if you really needed to find the answer to this question you probably could and this broad is not you and clearly needs all the help she can get, "is look through the TV Guide and try to find the name of the program. I'm sure you'll recognize it when you see it. Do you have a computer?"

"Yes," says the woman with some indignation, "of course."

You nod and place your hands on your hips. "And Internet?"

"Of course we have the Internet," she says.

"Well then, pull up Google--you know Google?" you say.

"Of course I know Google," she says.

"Pull up Google and type in the name of the show and the words 'theme song' and see what you come up with."

The woman raises her hand in the glory of revelation. "Why didn't I think of that?"

Good effing question, lady.

"Couldn't say," you say, smiling and nodding politely. "Sometimes a person just needs to think things through out loud."

"That's exactly what I'll do," says the woman. "Google." She turns her cart into the remainder of the day.

Yes, you think, that really just happened, before consider the bag containing two loaves of bread and one bag of Tostitos and the ullage of the hatchback.

Three miles to the east, at the local hospital, a woman cries out in the pain of childbirth.

Two and a half miles to the west, in the master bedroom of a white Colonial with a two-car garage, a man gasps as he rounds the brink of climax.

On the continent of Asia, a woman cradles her husband's head as he exhales for the last time.

You roll your empty cart to the cart corral. You go home, draped in purple silk.


Jozee said...

Wow. Beautiful twist. Such painterly writing. :)

Dongley Shlongford said...

why don't you just bend over so she can slip it in?

I have a mirror in my shower. Generally I use it to shave but lately I have discovered it to be invaluable in perfecting my O-Face.

Darby M. Dixon III said...

That should be the new slogan. "Google--Faster than asking random women in grocery store parking lots".

That, or, "Google--Bend over so we can slip it in".

Jozee said...

Hey Dongley, how nice of you to put the head you think with right up front. Most men keep their brain safely tucked away in their shorts. :)

Erin, sorry.

Paul said...

Send lawyers, guns, and money. The shit has hit the fan.

Erin O'Brien said...

Jozee: First off, thank you.

Now then, all I can tell you about the Dong is that we here at the Owner's Manual try to be tolerant of all kinds. That presents certain challenges with, er, certain guests. But I think, after seeing the Dong's avatar, you'll agree that he needs our most tender care.

Dong: Stop effing around and behave yourself! You're scaring the polite people! And can I ... er ... borrow your mirror?

Darby: Thank God you're here. You're Brilliant. I've been trying to handle all of this by myself and I'm run ragged with the effort! Please, please, don't leave me now.

Paul: If I were a waitress, I'd go home with you. Hell, I might go home with you anyway.

Toby said...

Very nice. Are you sure you were at Tops and not my ghetto Pick-N-Save? Crazy ladies are so much more polite in Cleavland.

Jesus Toast said...

This just goes to show you shouldn't ever turn around. Only bad things come from turning around. Face forward. Always.

Darby M. Dixon III said...

I pledge my services to the good cause. Especially if the good cause involves rapidly reducing the amount of Crazy 'round the grocery stores. Crazy should be confined to the Internet, where it can do no harm.

Dongley Shlongford said...

Does anyone have any Crisco that they can ship to Molokai?
I'm nearly complete with my 1:1 scale model of Jungle Jane that I have been building out of household products. Now, if I only had some Crisco, it would be GAME ON!

Erin O'Brien said...

Toby: We screen our crazy ladies here in Cleveland. Shit was getting WAY out of hand. Now they must get certified before they are allowed to leave the house. In fact, I'm due to renew my certification in a month. Thanks for reminding me.

JT: Can I trust you to stay in front of me, darling?

Mr. Dixon, if you are going to leave more than one comment, I'll need to see your papers (see my response to Toby above).

Dong: You may not use my Crisco. Last time, you returned it and it was full of finger gouges and curly black hairs. Go on and get your own Crisco!

Jesus Toast said...

I wil stay in front of you on my knees....

Vince said...

The old lady next door recently discovered I was a 'nice' guy. Now she's always inviting me over for tea. What do I do? Tell her to Google off??? I mean I don't have a parachute. My icecream's not melting.

Erin O'Brien said...

Toast, baby, let's stare into each other's eyes for a few minutes first, okay?

Vince: Simple. Answer the door in the buff. After three or four times, she'll get the message. Course, this might only serve to encourage her, but that's a risk you hav to take.

Jesus Toast said...

Nope, I always fall instantly to my knees when I approach a woman I am attracted to, its like an opossum who is scared, the reaction is instinctual (do opossums fall to their knees?)/

Vince said...

erin, sounds like a plan. I'll wear my gold medallion. Can I borrow your red house slippers?

Toby said...

You know I was referencing the other crazy lady.

Jozee said...

Thank you- Jesus!

Hal said...

Erin, Toby is right. You need to start shopping at Pick n Pay. The ones on the east side are way white least the one on Wilson Mills at Richmond in Richmond Heights was. But it rocked.

But the last time I was there was in 1985.

Erin O'Brien said...

Jesus: That must make for awkward moments during business introductions, that part in church when you shake hands with all the people around you and when you run across a hottie in the line at Subway.

Vince: Perfect! I'll send them right along.

Toby: It's all crazy, baby.

Jozee: Isn't it nice to have the Lord's representative among us? So convenient.

Hal: There hasn't been a Pick n Pay in CLE for 15 years. And wasn't that a stupid name for a grocery?

josh williams said...

I have a real cook Piggly Wiggly T shirt, they are still popular in the south. Odd things happen at the Piggly Wiggly.

BEAST said...

What a bizzare thing to do....I am going to try it...who can I phone to come and collect from the emergency room after having the trolley surgically removed ???
Wish me luck

Jesus Toast said...

Um, I don't go to church...ever...kind of redundant isn't it? I mean, any building I am in kind of becomes church, doesn't it? LIke Subway for instance, total church.

Hal said...

It was a stupid name.

But the one I referenced was cool because...well...I'm really bad and wrong for saying this...but at a time when you were legally relegated to 3.2 beer if you were between the ages of 18 and 21 in Ohio, this store would willingly sell "real" beer...and hard underage schmucks like me.

So it shows you how long I've been away from Clevo!

Toby said...

Ul. I tripped to the ghetto store today. Hooker, fine hooker, I couldn't afford her.

~d said...

Crap, crap, crap! I feel I need to say this: I am that crazy lady. Only Ihave Edy's Nestle cookie dough something or another churned ice cream-and Ben and Jerry's Napoleon Dynamite.

**Erin, Mone and I are BOTH ready for our bubble bath...HINT, hint, HINT!

garrett said...

Which garments, exactly, were composed of this purple silk you reference?

mushroom said...

hahah i love random shite like that. Makes my day.