Monday, September 19, 2016

My Friend

There's a cashier at our neighbourhood grocery store who Barclay and I affectionately refer to as 'My Friend.' We call him that because that's what he calls us. I suspect it's what he calls everyone, but it's still nice. He's here today—he's here every day, no matter what time I come.

I'm buying eggs and cream and avocados. I pick My Friend's line-up, like I always do if I have a choice. I wonder if he knows I do this? Is it weird? 

He's chatting up an old woman, who is absolutely loving him. She only has a few things too, and he sends her on her way with, "You have a good day, my friend!" And then it's my turn. 

"Well, hello, my friend! How are you today?"

"I'm good, how're you?" I return, smiling.

"Oh, I'm doin' just fine, like always - you know me, my friend, there is absolutely nothin' wrong here. Got big plans for the rest of your lovely Sunday morning?"

"No, not really." I laugh. I'm not trying to be stilted in my conversation, I'm just literally going home to fry these eggs - but my answer delights him. 

"Good. Good! Dick Tracy! Watch Dick Tracy. You'll love Dick Tracy. You've got Warren Beatty, you've got Madonna, you've got Al Pacino - you like Al Pacino? Of course you do. Who doesn't? If you like Al Pacino, you'll like Dick Tracy." He gives a definitive nod. There are no spaces between his sentences.

There is an older gentleman standing behind me in line. He looks bored. His eyes are a quarter of the way shut. His gut is hanging over his belt and he's hunched forward. He's buying four microwave dinners.  But at the mention of Dick Tracy, he springs to life. He lurches toward the conveyor belt and slams his fist down, yelling, "I WANT DICK TRACY DEAD!" 

My Friend's face cracks into a wide smile. 

(Aside: this is the second time I've seen My Friend smile. The first was a few months ago when my grocery bill added up to exactly $23.19. He hit the button on the cash register and said to me, "Okay, your total is...$23.19. OH MY GOODNESS. I have been waiting my entire career for this moment. TWENTY-THREE NINETEEN! WE HAVE A TWENTY-THREE NINETEEN! RED ALERT! RED ALERT!" He shouted it. People were staring. It was a Monsters Inc. reference. I didn't think to tell him in that moment that the kid on my hip was named Sully. I should have.)

My Friend also slams his fist onto the counter in front of him, and echoes the old man. "I WANT DICK TRACY DEAD!" They both give a couple extra fist slams and exchange knowing glances, sharing a common bond across a several-decade age gap.

The old man settles back down into his hunchstance and his bushy eyebrows descend, again, down his forehead. "Haven't seen it," he says gruffly.

Anyway. I didn't end up watching Dick Tracy that morning, simply because I don't have it and don't know where to get it. But the point is that if you hate grocery shopping, you should call me up and I'll give you the name of my place. I'll hook you up. You'll start to look forward to it.