The thunderstorm ended, so I went to the grocery store – a five minute walk if I got lucky with the traffic light. Otherwise the time would jump up to six minutes because I was on the wrong side of the intersection. An additional minute isn’t a huge deal, I got that, but it was enough time for someone to strike up a conversation with me when I wasn’t up for one.
“Why are you wearing a beanie in June?” the guy waiting next to me asked. He was on a blue framed bike and his helmet was covered in Avery stickers.
“The AC at my place is cranked down to sixty.”
“Why so cold?”
“That’s how my landlord wants it. He lives with me.”
“That sucks, dude,” he said. He then adjusted the helmet’s neck strap. The light turned green and the guy peddled away.
I had fifteen dollars for groceries to get me through the next four days. Buying in bulk got you the best deal, at least where I lived, and at least for some things like brown rice and peanut butter. No need for bottled water, that’s what faucets were for. I also ran out of chips and cookies the day before. I had rediscovered my love for animal crackers and the grocery store sold them by the jug. Only that night the jugs were no longer on sale.
Ten people waited before me in the self check out line. I looked to the cashier stations and saw they all were free. The guy working the closest cashier station waved me over.
“What’s with the beanie?” he asked.
“The AC at my place is cranked down to sixty. I forgot I had this on when I left,” I said.
“Why so cold?”
“My landlord wants it –.” I stopped because the cashier was laughing. He reached underneath the register and placed the helmet covered in Avery stickers on his head.
“I didn’t even recognize you,” I said.
“No worries man, if it wasn’t for your beanie I wouldn’t have recognized you either.”
I nodded and watched him scan the rice and peanut butter and corn chips I bought instead of the animal crackers in a jug.
“You find everything you need?” he asked.
“When are those jugs of animal crackers going back on sale?” I asked.
“Not sure, if they were on sale last week I don’t think they’ll be back on for a while.”
I paid and he handed me the plastic bag with my food. Outside the sky was gray again from the storm clouds that were coming from over the mountains.
Back at the house the AC was still cranked down to sixty. I put the food away and sat on the couch for several hours, through the storm. I thought about going back to the store without my beanie and back to the cashier with a jug of animal crackers, just to see if he would recognize me, just to see if the animal crackers happened to be on sale.