All I was trying to do was return a family pack of rancid smelling chicken legs that should have still been okay. Since I was at the grocery store anyway, I decided to pick up a few items I forgot three days ago. Bananas. (pronounced like Eddie Izzard says it) One Vidalia onion for the final Cool Beans Salad of the summer. Produce guy is unloading onions. I ask him why there are no Vidalia onions. He could have just said, "We didn't get a shipment," and left it at that. Instead, he proceeded to tell me he's a weird Italian, can't eat onions or garlic or peppers. He elaborates, "I learned this the hard way eating burgers at White Castle. I was drinking then too...but it wasn't from the alcohol. Alcohol never made me throw up. My father had it worse. Imagine an Italian man who can't eat tomato sauce." (He made it sound like one of The Seven Deadly Sins.) "Pasta with butter, his whole life. There's something wrong with that."
(A woman bumps into my cart and says excuse me, then comments on my hair, "like Rapunzel," she smiles.) Produce guy is telling me he can't even watch TV commercials where they show people eating onions like apples. (I briefly think of asking him how he feels about Pandeism or the war in Iraq, but there was no room between his sentences.) By now, he is telling me he stopped drinking alcohol thirty years ago, so it had to be the onions. When he began listing the vegetables he could tolerate but they made him burp, I grabbed a Spanish onion, wished him well and walked briskly away.
Totally thrown off my mission, I looked at the rest of the short list, got everything like I was a contestant in Shop For Your Life, my family held hostage unless I got out of there ASAP. I beelined to an empty check-out line where a cashier was chatting with the cashier at the next line. The guy said to her, "No, I want this customer. She's mine." (I'm thinking this shopping trip cannot possibly get more bizarre and jokingly said to them both, "I've never had cashiers fighting over me.") But she waved me away and as I piled my groceries on the conveyor belt, I noticed his name tag. ANGEL.
All I could do at that point was laugh and say, "Hi, I actually could really do with an angel today; it's been a difficult few weeks."
He smiled and replied, "Everyone needs an angel now and then, most people don't bother to look."