Check Out

He didn’t really cut in front of me at the grocery check out. I was standing a
few feet out motioning to my wife that this would be a better lane, and she
should come with the cart. It was just weird how he had ducked in front of me when my back was half turned. He was about my age with a gray beard more
unkempt than mine. We both wore glasses and knit hats, his black and mine blue,
and we both wore ratty old hoodies. His had oil and grease stains, mine had wood chips all up the front. There were only three things in his basket, milk, hot dogs, and bananas so I didn’t really care if he went first, but I guess I made a face.
“Hey man, sorry I got in front of you, but you know” he said, gesturing
towards his head and widening his eyes,” I was like in Vietnam, you know.”
“Don’t matter” I said. “really don’t matter, and I know what you mean.
Coming in here my wife told me I was driving on the wrong side of the road,
and this morning I had to return a video, and left it off at the wrong place, so
I know.”
“Some people…”
“Yeah, some people. Tell you what, you can owe me a banana.”
He looked around theatrically, pulled a banana off his bunch and went to slide it into my pocket.
“No man, don’t do that”, I said putting it back on the counter with the rest,
“what about the monkeys, don’t want them to go hungry.”
“Yeah, the monkeys, ha-good one.”
By then the cashier was getting impatient with this guy. She wanted him to take his
change and move on, and my wife who had been enjoying the show had finished loading our stuff on the belt and wanted to get going too.
My new friend turns to my wife and says;
“You better keep an eye on this guy! Ha ha, he needs help!”
“ Oh I will” she says, “I’ve been keeping hm out of trouble for a long time.”
During this he had dropped his change on the floor, then drops the rest of his money when he goes to pick it up. I help him, but he has $10 stuck under shoe
and it takes a minute for us to get that straightened out.
“Gheez, you better drive”, he says to my wife.
She laughs and promises that she will.

Doug Mathewson