A Sale! Don't we all love a sale? I have a huge freezer that will attest to my love of a sale. I'm not the typical female shopper that drools over a huge price cut for new underwear or a pair of pants.
I'm a 'hunter/gatherer'. You won't find me slaying animals and dragging the carcass home to perform magic with a knife and freezer wrap. You won't find me hunched down at the vegetable patch pulling weeds and salivating over the green bean and cucumber plants awaiting the produce they will produce. (I know, I know...produce used twice...It's my blog and I deny any English major to suggestion corrections).
Every Tuesday the grocery sale papers arrive promptly (usually ANY time of the day) but at least it's usually Tuesday anyway. We hike the 50 ft. to the mailbox to rescue the sales flyers and walk with a lighter quicker step back to our kitchen tables to 'hunt'. Products are circled, separated later into lists that appear on line paper and to each designated store. Preparation is key. Any coupon on hand corresponding to a sale item is catalogued into the list of supplies.
Next a route is formulated related to which store first and this is usually determined by what is on sale at that store. Imagine buying ice cream and then traveling from sale store to sale store. Imagine what the ice cream would be like by the time this hunter/gatherer trip made it's full circle back to the lair where the spoils of the trip would be hefted out of the collection vehicle (a car with a huge trunk in this case.) Ice Cream bought early on this trip will require a quick return to the cave to dump it into that huge freezer storage so Ice Cream gathering has to be last on the list of stores to visit.
All the preparations are done and it's time to contact Portia. Portia (pronounced the same as the car Porsche) is a friend that lives close by and is a better hunter/gatherer then I. She loves the hunt and her unskilled mathematical brain suddenly turns into a calculator that can divide at lightning speed which makes for a desirable talent when calculating the tricky pricing of some of these grocery stores and their marketing department. One learns quickly and watches and learns to divide total price by individual item.
Portia is a petite bundle of energy and usually needs no long notification to go anywhere. In 15 minutes I was at her house and we were, with our lists clutched in our hands, ready for assault we had carefully planned. (I've always thought women should run this country. We know all about preparation and planning and the necessity for such.)
After all this preparation, it comes down to the check out. Yes, this story isn't about hamburger, eggs, bread and milk. It was the checkout line that was most memorable.
Portia was standing in front of me with her loot on the grocery belt, I was standing behind Portia but in front of a women that I struck up a conversation with. A Canadian that was on a teaching contract. She was a short woman and as I am a tall woman I could easily peruse the surroundings with nothing blocking my view. Over the head of this petite educator, my eyes locked on the person behind the Canadian. I hesitated, my eyes locked on her and then quickly returned my attention to the Canadian that was still talking to me. I wanted to keep eye contact with her but my attention kept dragging back to the person standing behind her, a female that was most unusual in appearance. My mind whirled wondering if there was some school event going on and this person was dressed to attend. Maybe Halloween was being held in March? Some sort of unusual spring thing? Maybe she was hired to do a birthday party? I swung around and away from the Canadian to Portia standing in front of me and did one of those "jerk of the head around and eyebrows raised' which alerted her to look behind me. I watched the expression on Portia's face, her mouth got slack and her eyes widen as she scanned the row behind her, behind me and behind the Canadian.
I stole another look at this female behind be, gazing over the head of the petite Canadian into the red over arched eyebrows of a pair of eyes that had huge blackened circles around them. Tears tattooed one after another raced over her cheeks and down to the jaw line. A web was tattooed across the eyes and over the bridge of her nose. More tattoos decorated her neck. Her hair was an expression of freedom. I dragged my eyes away and back and away once again.
We are shopping in an upscale neighborhood. This is not New Orleans. In New Orleans she would not have rated a second glance unless it was tourists from some small town that isn't used to see these freedom folks.
Another quick glance allowed a look at her dress. An oversized light blue denim shirt hung much to large on her body and buttoned irregularly over a pair of leggings and her feet sported a pair of men's white plastic sandals with one huge strap that wrapped over her toes. She rolled her cart to a red two door sporty looking car and loaded her soda's and pastries. Yes, the detective in me casually observed her bought items as I tried to arrange in my brain some sort of acceptance to what we had witnessed. I wonder also if she is used to people studiously trying to avoid staring at her. She must know what her appearance does to the unsuspecting public.
My conversation with Portia on our mission to the next store was not about the sales list but about the 'teardrop lady' and who she might be and where she might live and what she might do for a living.
might be time for me to make a trip to New Orleans. New Orleans prepares one for odd sites and since I haven't been there for a couple of years now, my senses might have become dulled to the quirkiness that surrounds us.