Extraordinarily pleasant grocery experience

Last night, after having dinner with my mom, I headed to the local Harris Teeter (which is an UberTeeter, thankfully) to get milk and cream, the two perishable items I really need on a daily basis. (When I was growing up, Pine State, a local dairy, delivered our milk twice a week…now that was cool!). Given that I was out of other things as well, most notably mayonnaise, I decided it might be worth a quick cruise through the whole store (and, yes, this is how most of my shopping damage gets done).

I was tooling down the bread aisle when a white-haired gentleman asked me if I was finding everything all right. I said that I was, thank you, and motored on. We crossed paths again the the health & beauty aisle where he asked me how I was doing this evening. I admitted that I was, “honestly, a little tired.” I added that “I just need to get through the grocery then home to bed.”

He said ” To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,”

I boggled. We had an amusing interchange about the fact that probably only in RTP would you find a grocery store clerk quoting Shakespeare, then I headed off again (in pursuit of daiquiri mixes for the shower I’m throwing this weekend).

When it was time for me to checkout I made a beeline (what’s a “beeline” anyway… bees don’t seem to fly very straight; in fact, they sort of bumble around a bit…anyway) for his queue. What a hoot! There was a small, lonely piece of lettuce on the end of the checkout stand, and when I pointed its solitude out, Jim (by now I’d read his name tag, Oh Clever Me), commiserated, saying that it did look sad and that it looked like all its friends had “leafed” it. I am, I admit, a sucker for bad puns (at least the novel ones). so this cracked me up. I asked him if he’d read any Spider Robinson, one of my favorite authors who is quite punny, and, of course (nothing was surprising me anymore), he had. Turns out he’s finishing his second masters degree at Duke, this one in clinical research management (his first was in English, hence Shakespeare quote).

Wow. Amazing how someone like that can turn a (somewhat dreaded and definitely grudging) grocery store run into a real pleasure!

5 thoughts on “Extraordinarily pleasant grocery experience

  1. If you haven’t discovered , you should really look at his stuff. He has been a big contributer to alt.callahans and patterns his writings on Spider’s style. His more recent posts are a little tamer than some stuff he was posting in Oct and Nov.


  2. That was the most precious story! I chance meetings like that. I used to work at a nursing home in Oregon. We had a lot of mentally ill because of the closing of mental hospitals. There were not one but two men who would quote 19th century British verse whenever it was appropriate. My husband and I think that we have lost that value of memorization. It seemed to be part of the curriculum in the past. Thank you so much for putting a smile on my face! I’m thinking about “JIm” all day now.


  3. YAY
    Gotta love the uber-teeters….this post just made me SMILE!
    I saw an article somewhere (Lord knows of all the things I’ve lost
    I miss my MIND the most…) that RTP has the greatest concentration of PhD’s per square foot. REALLY?
    Who measured THAT?
    Can’t you just PICTURE it?


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