five seconds of fame

This past weekend, we were in the local paper. Front cover, and above the fold, even. Its amazing to me how many people actually glance at the local paper- I’m such a creature of the computer age- the online version of the NY Times is about all the newspaper I generally peruse, other than on Sundays, when we spend a leisurely morning at the coffee shop, and read the Sunday edition.

So, all of our local friends and acquaintances saw it- and it was a big enough photograph that they recognized us. The article was actually about how rising prices and health scares regarding food have turned more people into backyard gardeners- not at all why we garden- but apparently that was the assignment for the article, and we were the only “normal” (laymen) gardeners to whom they talked, so we got to appear as the cheap, paranoid gardeners! The photo however, wasn’t bad, other than the overly serious look on my face as I planted my tomato seedling!

Anyway, all that fame went straight to my head. Picture the scenario: it was later that day, I was at the grocery store, it was past my dinner time, and I was starving. I thought I could just grab a few things. As is always the case when you’re in a hurry, the place was packed, and every checkout line had at least half a dozen people waiting. I scanned my options, and chose what I thought would be the shortest, fastest line- it actually only had 3 people ahead of me. I was dead wrong- as I watched with increasing disbelief as the cashier started talking to the customer, slowing her “checking” as she became more and more involved with the conversation.

I could talk about how the woman didn’t know how to use the debit card processor, how she picked up the wrong item and had to exchange it, how she came back and wanted smaller bills in change, how the next woman wanted things rung up on three separate tickets, etc., but suffice it to say, things did not speed up.

When it was finally my turn, (half an hour later- no exaggeration) I was not in a very good mood. The cashier started her normal pleasantries, with not even a token, “sorry for the wait” and I started bagging my own groceries to hint at the degree of my displeasure, and in order to just get-the-heck-out-of-there. Completely oblivious to the length of the line, let alone my mood- the checker stated telling me how much she loved the variety of potatoes that I had picked, and how she loved to make mashed potatoes with them, but only after first baking them, as she stopped checking my items – needing her hands to talk!

I had been telling myself she was young and new, and to be nice, but it was just too much! I opened my mouth to tell her how much I didn’t give a d–m how she liked her potatoes, when the woman behind me tapped my arm. “Excuse me,” she said,”but weren’t you in the paper this morning?” (Undoubtably the grim look on my face made me recognizable)… I took a deep breath, smiled and nodded. (Luckily, this break also got the cashier to start checking my groceries again). We chatted a little, and finally, I was on my way home, celebrity scene barely averted. Five seconds of fame, and I’m ready to start yelling at the “little people” – imagine what 15 minutes would do?

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