Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A day on the Shopping Bus

From yesterday:

Damn, it's like someone pulled the plug on me this afternoon. I'm at zero energy level. I had nothing in the tank all day and it was a busy day.

We took the shopping bus this morning. After a stop at the ATM we split up. One bus goes to Ace Hardware and Budget Marine and then the Mall. The other goes straight to the Mall for grocery shopping and whatever else. Deb went to the Mall and I went the other way.

Typical bus loading cruisers

I was on the all guys bus. The one that smelled like Irish Spring, dirty sandals, Old Spice and weed. We got to the Ace hardware store. I found nothing on my list. I was done early. I went to talk to the Rasta Mon bus driver but he was on the phone. I walked back in the store. I looked at stuff. It all reminded me of home improvement so I walked back out but I stopped to see a sailor looking at a lawn mower. This froze me. It was just so bizarre a thing. I pulled myself away only to see another sailor looking and asking about patio furniture. Huh?? Another sailor had a swim noodle under his arm. OK, that's normal. I walked out into the sunshine again. "Are you done shopping?" asked the driver. Yes. "OK, get in da bus please." I didn't want to get in first because you get the back of the bus and it bounces too much. Damn it. Eventually all the smells came back into the bus and we were off.

When we got to Budget Marine they had a coffee pot brewing and it smelled wonderful. I was greeted by a very tall hyper dude in glasses who wanted to know what I needed. "A starter battery", I said. In a blur he ran towards the batteries with me in tow, grabbed the size I needed, peeled the sticker off the battery, stuck it to my finger and told me to take it up front and tell them where we are dropping it off. Dropping it off? "Yes, you can't buy a battery jus now. We charge it first and make sure it is OK then we deliver it to you" Then he grabbed the battery to put it on a charger and running away he yelled "3PM delivery!" and vanished.

I was standing there with a sticker attached to my finger and my mouth open. I slowly walked to the counter and stuck my finger at the woman behind it. She looked me in the eye and pulled the sticker off my finger and rang it up asking where and what time. Uh, 3pm at Secret Harbor. Click, click, click, done. Have a nice day! I walked away knowing there were other things I needed but everything happened so fast so I thought I would wander around the store and maybe get a coffee and then the other bus driver George comes up to me and says, "Excuse me. Are you all done shopping?" Well...I... "OK, we go now. Get to the bus and lets go". I got in line with the rest of the guys next to the bus in the bright sunshine and we started getting in the bus. "Don't step in the water!!" There was a puddle. I was about to step into it and then get on the bus. George does not like his bus to get dirty. I got the eye. The eye that said, "You filthy dog gonna just dirty my bus?" Nobody likes to be on George's shit list.

I had a sudden vision of my future.

My nursing home was having a field trip and I was herded into a bus with my other older grumbling pals and we were driven to a shopping center and allowed to wander around. If we touched anything we were scolded by a big orderly and if we purchased anything they pretended we bought it and after we left they put everything back on the shelves. When we got back to the home we didn't remember a damn thing anyway so it was all good fun.

We finally got to the mall and were unloaded. I swear some of the guys just stood there in the sun wondering what to do. I humped it into the mall and raced for the grocery store passing by the coffee shop. It smelled so good. I wanted to catch Debra before she checked out so I could see if she bought any good stuff. Debra tends to get the basics and nothing special. I needed to survey the cart and run around getting all the exotic fun stuff. I walked through the doors and there's Deb checking out. Damn.

The Mall

I just shuffled over to the cart and helped pack. On my dejected walk out of the store I noticed the hardware/housewares store. I remembered we needed something there but I could not recall. "Batteries and a shower curtain", said Deb. I took off to buy a shower curtain of all things. I hate buying housewares. I never buy the right thing. I finally found shower curtains after wandering around a bit and there was no white colored curtains. Figures. Huh, maybe purple would be nice, or this funny color of blue? No better go with beige. I'm buying a shower curtain and batteries. I wanted to add a hacksaw for masculinity verification but I'm too cheap. I was the only one in the store except for the employees gathered at a register. I stood there. "You go to that register", the young lady said. I go over to THAT register and nobody is there. I wait. Some dude comes up and asks if I found everything. Yes. I found my battery powered shower curtain. He walked away. A young lady then came by. Did you find everything? Yes. Did someone help you? No. I found all this on my own. She smiled. I paid. She smiled some more. I smiled back and left.

I assumed Debra was treating herself to a mango smoothie so I stopped by an electronics booth and bought some headphones. Not sure the reason but I break headphones or ear buds regularly. As I got closer to the food court where the bus picks us up I could smell that coffee. Yes!

I finally get to the food court and I can't find Deb. I look outside and she's getting on the bus. She waves me over. Damn it I wanted a Mocha Joe! I really needed a coffee. George is like, "On the bus please we go now!" I looked down first to make sure there were no puddles. We all piled in but we went in order. George puts us in by size. Little people in the back and tall in the front. I'm not a fan of this method. All us hobbits in the back all looked at each other as if to say "Someday the giants will pay". We drove on to the next stop with all the "shorts" popping up in our back seat on every bump.

The veggie store.
The veggie store is weird. It's a butcher shop with a shelf of vegetables. There's also a shelf with liquor. Mostly it's canned goods, eggs, liquor and meat. I don't get the name but I go in anyway because sometimes they have a good selection. Deb went to the pharmacy. I look around. I want nothing but I look. I'm looking at meat. I'm a vegetarian looking at the meat cuts. "Can I help you sir?" said a very tall and attractive woman. Uh. Um. Eh, I am uh...just browsing. I can't believe I said browsing. You don't browse for meat idiot. Geez. I just walked away while she smiled the "pity the fool" smile which I have been getting all damn day. I wander some more. I run into her rounding the aisle. "Are you sure I can't help you find anything?" No. Just...looking. She went in the back room only to pop out carrying some meat and I was blocking her way because I was reading the ingredients on these Cassava Crisps. Very few calories but lots of sugar. "Excuse me please sir." I finally walked out of the "Veggie Shop" and wandered over to the bakery and read their sign out front when I noticed a woman my age smiling at me from a table. Good afternoon I said. "Afternoon" she replied. "Don't be shy. Go and get some pastry". I could really use a coffee I said. "The coffee is terrible here". Oh. OK. I wandered off with my hands in my pockets and got honked at by a car backing up.

Some of the short people are holding coffee's. How is that coffee?, I ask. "We don't know. It's so damn hot nobody has tasted it yet!"

We got herded to the bus. Everyone knows their place now.

Next stop is the wholesale store. This is where you find out who all the drunks are. You can find out a lot about people just by following them around a store, especially a wholesale. Hey look, 5 giant bottles of fiber. Interesting. Preparation H 12 pack! Seven bottles of rum! Wow. Last week it was five. Must be the wife is arriving. How can someone possibly eat that much mayo? The Prep H 12 pack just bought a case of hot sauce!

We wait on the bus for the drunk plugged up mayo eaters to get back. I ask the back row about the coffee. "Still too damn hot!" The French woman next to me wonders how many more stops there are. Last one we tell her. She smiles and talks about all the stuff she forgets when at the store, like her list. We all laugh because we all do the same thing. She's having fun. We are too even though we complain sometimes. We all agree that these shopping trips are way better than the trips we make at home. We talk about where we are from and where we are going. We talk about kids, grand kids, things we miss, things we don't. Soon the bus is full again and we drive off.

We arrive back at the dinghy dock. George unloads our groceries because he doesn't want the parking lot gravel back in his bus and one by one we peel away to go back to our boats. "By everybody!" "See you later!" "Have a great day!" "Nice meeting you!" "Au revior!" "This coffee is delicious!"

Pauly B tired.

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