My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.


Is it me or did the Oscars kinda suck? I don't usually watch award shows because I really don't care what some small group of "industry insiders" think about movies or music or stars or anything. But, there was nothing else on and Jon Stewart (who I dearly heart) was the host. Which I'm sure is not news to you.

But, gee, I don't know. He looked seriously out of place, very nervous and telling very forced, scripted jokes that didn't seem to elicit any kind of response from the audience unless we just weren't hearing it. And that whole "I'm proud to be out of touch" speech by George Clooney (who I also heart but who is also so much an insider he couldn't possibility have understood what Stewart was saying)? Dude, there's a whole other world out there and it has no celebrities in it. Yeah, boy, Hollywood's right there on the cutting edge saving the world by...making movies (read: fiction) about Serious Issues.

Uh huh. Um, Mr. Clooney? Ya know, you're sweet and all but you don't know what the hell you're talking about. So, maybe, just take your award and go home and roll around in your millions. And feel free to make another movie where you've got the good hair (O Brother) rather than the bad hair (E.R.) [which, yes, I do know is the most boring, longest running television show on the planet and not a movie. I used to watch it B.K. before kids. Why, I don't know.]

So, instead I switched to a very strange and disconcerting Sherlock Holmes movie-thing on Masterpiece Theatre. I gave it a C-. Sorry, Holmes did not have a telephone and didn't hang out, like some private investigator, at Scotland Yard. And, lord-a-mercy, can we just stop with the obligatory shooting-up scene? Done to death.

Any other shows you'd like me to review? No? Okay, then. I'll tell you about my run-in with Most Annoying Mommy Ever.

I was at the grocery store with Red on Saturday. Red was at her most charming saying "hi" to everyone she saw, dropping her sandwich all over the place, the usual. Old ladies love Red because no matter how scary they are or how stinky their perfume cloud, Red always gives 'em a big smile. So, we're happily shopping and, round about the bakery section I encounter MAME for the first time. She's plump a pear, not an apple and wearing one of those teacher sweaters something with lots of embroidered things all over it. Fussy kitty faces or a farm scene or something just as obnoxious. You know the type the pushy, know-it-all, PTA president who slips in references to her church every chance she gets. Long brown hair pulled back with a scrunchy (which, naturally, is the same color as the sweater). Lotsa blush and mascara. She's with her daughter a sad, slightly overweight girl of about nine years old with long, stringy hair who comes up to her holding something (I didn't notice, I usually try to mind my own business in public foreshadowing here) and said, "I'm sorry, Mommy, I took this off the so-and-so shelf. I'll put it back."

"Oh, that's okay, honey!" MAME replies in the most syrupy, squeaky little Disney animal voice from the depths of big-eyed-animal hell (think Thumper meets Pigglet) that was like nails across a blackboard to me, "We can just put it at the end of the aisle when we get to the cashier and they'll put it back for you!!!"

The hell? Boy, I was this close to whipping around and telling the girl, "Or, you could simply put it back where you found it and save the employees the trouble since they have plenty to do already without cleaning up after you!"

Now, I have nothing against this little girl. Truly, I don't. She didn't ask to have Thumplet for a mother. But, this attitude that you can do whatever you want and a tired and overworked (not to mention under-paid) employee will fix it all for you drives me insane. While there are plenty of jobs that are worse than working in a grocery store, there are millions that are better.

MAME starts talking in that loud kind of low voice like a stage whisper where you pretend you're having a quiet discussion when really you want the world to know everything you're saying: "Oh, sweety, yes I suppose you can have those! Just this once! But we need to hurry so we can get you to SWIM CLASS! Come on, now! Just one more thing to get and then we'll go to SWIM CLASS!"

So, Red and I putter some more, picking up whole wheat bread and the pumpernickel she likes (to shred and drop on the floor), finishing up in the frozen food section, and then find a check out line with NOBODY IN IT! Amazing but true. The cashier steps away from her spot for a millisecond to assist someone but I know she'll be back. They are very efficient here. I start unloading my cart.

As luck would have it, MAME comes up behind me.

"Is anyone working in this lane?" she cranes her neck around in an exaggerated manner oh, could the worker lady be over HERE? Or, perhaps she's over THERE? Doesn't she know we need to get to SWIM CLASS? Fucking fuck.

Red, who's been gnawing at a leisurely pace at her last piece of soy butter on pumpnickel sandwich, drops it on the floor while Im not looking. MAME's daughter steps on it. I am busy trying to make the card swiper accept my debit card. Which, for whatever reason, it won't.

"Ew!" says Thumplet Junior.

"What, sweety!?!?!" replies her mother in the stage whispery voice.

"I stepped on something." At which point, I look down at a brown square. For a second, I haven't a clue what it is. Then I turn to Red who is empty handed and grinning. Hmmm. Before I have a chance to react (and I tend to react very slowly in retail establishments something about the florescent lighting, I think), MAME bends over with a pink tissue and exclaims, all smiles and radiance,

"Oh, it's just peanut butter & jelly!!" She tosses it in the trash can by the cashier. She looks at me all expectantly! Hadn't she done me such an enormous favor by cleaning up after my Little One? Peanut butter & jelly, my ass, I think.

"Thanks," I reply. Still, the fucking swiper refuses debit. Red demands to be picked up. I hoist her up on one hip and wait for the manager. God, I hate that. The manager tries and tries but has to do a credit transaction even though I've offered to just write a check.

I bend over to sign my name in the stupid electronic box with the stupid magnetic pen or whatever it is and MAME's daughter leans over and stares at the box,

"Mommy, what's her last name?"

"Oh, I don't know, honey!!! But it's not polite to look, now, come over HERE!" she squeals.

My personal space, man, they're in my personal space. Again, though, I have no ill feelings for Little Miss Curiosity because she's taken lessons all her life from MAME the biggest buttinsky in the world as will be proven momentarily.

Finally, the transaction goes through. The bagger suddenly leaves to escort someone else out (they take your groceries to your car at this place it ain't no Food Monger!) and in the 3.78 seconds it takes for the floor manager to assign another bagger to my stuff, MAME scoots behind me, shoving me into the swiper platform, and says,

"Here! Let ME get that!"

And begins to bag my groceries. I ask you! Here is where I become very disappointed in myself but I am so shocked and have completely shut myself down in order to void this woman from my brain so shocked that she is BAGGING MY GROCERIES without asking, just throwing stuff in bags, that while my brain is shouting NOOOOO nothing comes out of my mouth. Perhaps it was because Red was doing her bucking bronco thing and making it nearly impossible for me to keep her from flinging herself onto the floor, or because I wasn't in the mood for a fight (MAME looked like the dangerous type that insert themselves in places they aren't wanted and then get all indignant when you try to make them stop or call them on it) or...I don't know why. I hang my head in shame, I do.

"Ha, they should PAY me to do this!! Ha ha, no they couldn't AFFORD me!! Ha ha!!" MAME rambles on and when the new bagger shows up she starts removing the bags the cashier was filling from her hands, shoved my bags onto the cart and I suppose she was expecting some kind of response from me for all her UNASKED FOR help because she kept smiling at me a big smile. Like a serial killer will smile at his victim right as he's about to sew the extra piece of skin onto her torso.

I fled.

On the way home, as I replayed the horrible scene in my head, I came up with all kinds of snappy rejoinders, a few cutting remarks, or perhaps just screaming "Stop it, you freak! Hands off my food!" But, alas, it was too late. Too, too late. I am a loser. But, I swear, if I see MAME again...buddy, I'll be prepared.

Cause I don't like people messing with my groceries. Especially when their scrunchy matches their sweater and they're on their way to swim class. Seriously.


3:10 p.m. ::
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