The idiot in the supermarket

Maybe I am weird. Maybe I am a few steps backwards and off to the left of what society consider normal. However, people tend to misjudge and cast me off as being an idiot, a misconception that begun in my childhood; the main perpetrators were my schoolteachers. I was aware that I didn’t blend well with my classmates and it was probably a little strange when I would stand up suddenly in a quiet classroom and scream ‘You are not the boss of me!’ while throwing wild punches into the air. The class would erupt in laughter. The teachers on the other hand reactions differed. The teachers would keep me after class and speak to me with the patience and hidden frustration one would use in the attempt to explain to a dog, that was not house trained, where to shit.  They would ask me why do I act out in such an unruly manner. It was simple, the quietness of the classroom was driving me nuts so I did a random act of stupidity and made the class laugh. But I couldn’t tell them the truth. I would open my mouth and allow my brain to shut off into a quiet hum and would just sit there, my open, in silence. The teacher would mumble a few obscenities before explaining to me in the most compassionate voice why I an idiot.

Although I loathe and burn with indignation about being labeled an idiot I thank the God for littering the world with people who do. It alleviates the remorse from the mid of a recreational Kleptomaniac who larks hidden in a plain sight for an unsuspecting victim to pilfer. Such occasions occurred frequently.

For an example, a few days ago I went shopping at the near by supermarket for a few necessities. Once I finished collecting my items I slid into a cashier’s line. It moved in a slow crawl. I was stuck behind a happily overweight woman who snacked with undivided concentration on a big bag of potato chips. Her young child sat in the baby seat of a shopping cart. The child’s head was large and uneven with wide slightly crossed brown eyes peering at me. I wondered if the child was a boy or a girl. Finally I came to the conclusion that I had no idea what sex the baby was and started thinking about cartoons.

A light baby’s chuckle pulled my attention back to the little hermaphrodite, who had an open carton of eggs sitting on its lap and held two eggs in its small fat hands. He stared down at the eggs with gleeful deviance. The baby suddenly smashed the eggs against its forehead. The child face balled up in both pain and enjoyment before repeatedly smashing eggs one by one against its face until the mother noticed in horror. She chastised her child, removed the carton and what was left of the eggs from the baby’s possession before inquiring why I failed to inform her. I shrugged as if I didn’t have a reason. The truth was that it did cross my mind to alert her but the baby’s manic enjoyment amused me.

Although I did speculate that the mother wasn’t very fond of me I didn’t get the conformation until it was revealed before her exit by her choice of vocabulary after I asked if her baby was a boy or a girl.

‘Way to go jerk.’ A cock-sure voice said from behind me.

I ignored who ever it was as the plump and pale cashier scanned my items and tossed them to the bag boy without care.

’35.17’ the cashier said.

I dug into the breast pocket of my suit for my wallet. It wasn’t there. I ran my hands through my other pockets and found noting. My brow cracked into a light sweat.

’35.17’ the cashier repeated.

I had a clear mental view of my wallet lying on my kitchen counter.

The cashier flopped onto her stool. She let out a grunt that I though only a gorilla was capable of. I gave her a smile. The cocky voice behind me returned with ’35.17! What are you waiting for you fucking idiot.’ I turned. The guy was all muscles and hair grease. ’35.17’ He barked. I turned back to the cashier. She sat hunched with her face balled up with angst. The guy tapped my shoulder. I turned. ‘35.17 pay or get the fuck out of line, you fucking idiot.’ He said in his most intimidating voice. I remained silent. He stepped forward. Our faces were inches apart. ‘What are you, some sort of retard? He said with a small smirk. He was having fun and I almost smiled myself but I was force to hold my breath because his smelled the way a preacher would describe damnation. I took a step backwards and then turned to the cashier and dug into the wallet, paid for my groceries and left the store.

On my walk home I stuffed the remaining bills from the wallet into my pocket and tossed it into a trash bin. When the guy remembers that day he probably will still consider me an idiot but when he had attempt to pay for his groceries and found his wallet missing I’m pretty sure he felt like an idiot himself.

About thebabbler

The Babbler is social commentary and literature by Christopher Reel

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