Monday, April 28, 2008

unexpected items

This whole brain tumor thing has really thrown me off my game. It's hard to go through a day and not be conscious that its presence--and now, its absence and accompanying mental and physical deficits--will always be there. You don't want to be defined by it, but it shapes everything.

And it didn't even belong to me.

Anyway, it's been difficult to recapture my sense of humor, which I depend on to get through the day. I certainly don't want to blog about how things suck right now and sound all woe-is-me and shit, so instead, this is what happened at the Ack-a-me the other day.

I go through the self-scanner lane because I like to create more work for myself. I only have a few things and normally I can speed through. This time, however, was different.

I scanned a couple of things. The holding area was full, so I moved some of the stuff into the cart.

"Unexpected item removed from bagging area. Please return item to bagging area," said the scanner lady with a voice that suggested that a SWAT team was about ready to swoop down on me any minute. I dutifully put the stuff back.

"Unexpected item in bagging area. Please remove item from bagging area."

Confused, I removed the bag and put it back in the cart.

"Unexpected item removed from bagging area. Please return item to bagging area."

I take the bag and wave it around the scanner, trying to convince it that it's paid for.

"See? It's in a BAG. Because it's PAID FOR," I patiently explain to the machine. "Now I'm going to put it back in the sacred 'bagging area', and then I'm going to REMOVE it to make room for more stuff." I put the bag in the cart.

"Unexpected item removed from bagging area. Please re..." the scanner stops speaking abruptly as I take the bag from the cart and slam it back down in the holding area.

"Unexpected item in bagging area. Please remove item from bagging area." The scanner is clearly teasing me now and I begin to wonder if I'm being punk'd, but quickly realize that this is NJ and we don't fool around with that stupid crap here.

"LOOK! SEE??? IT'S PAID FOR! IT'S IN A BAG. I'M TAKING MY PAID MERCHANDISE AND PUTTING IT IN THE CART!" I shout, loudly enough for the cashier to note that I'm not actually stealing a box of Cheerios, some half-and-half, plastic wrap and tampons. "LOOK! SEE? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU ANYWAY?! SEE?"

I frantically moved the bag back and forth several times from the cart to the holding area, just to confuse it. "What! WHAT! Which way did it go? HUH? Where's the bag NOW??? Oh, WHAT, cat got your tongue?"

By this time a line has started to form, and I turn exasperatedly to the guy behind me. "Is it ME?" He smiles, shakes his head knowingly. He's been through this hell before.

The thing is yelling at me to return the bag, but I toss the bag in the cart in the hope it doesn't notice, and start quickly scanning more stuff, trying to confuse it. It seems to work.

"Two. Ninety-nine." she says pleasantly.

"Three. Forty-nine." she says, again pleasantly.

She remains calm and collected throughout the transaction, certainly more than I was. I hope the Ack-a-me security cameras got my good side. If I only had one.