Mood: don't ask
Topic: "Real Men Don't Shop"(4)
Frodo is not unlike most of his gender; there is order, and there is disorder. Order exists as long as things continue just as they have always been done, and disorder reigns whenever anything changes. Sam goes shopping, and that includes the megalith known as the "grocery store." Frodo consumes that which returns in plastic or in paper. Given this preamble, all of life should be simple and uncomplicated.
Sam is in recovery, and is forbidden to utilize a motorcar for the next two weeks. Under normal circumstances, this would be a point of revelry for Frodo. Unconsumed petrol is an asset these days worthy of entry on Frodo's ledger of accounts. However, the need for sustenance in the Shire requires that Frodo substitute for Sam, and thereby seek provisions at the 21st Century version of the "general store." True it is that these centralized placements in every retail mausoleum in America do, indeed, sell anything, and everything.
Frodo is therefore entrusted with a list. Once he emerges unscathed, at least in this instance, from that which is known as a parking lot, although there seems to be a constancy of unplanned traffic flow throughout, he then takes temporary possession of a cart. Frodo knows that, within seconds, the complexion of his hands will pale against the light. Frodo is truly a "white-knuckle shopper," fearing the inevitable consequence of one without patience loosed upon the methodically unreasonable aisles and lanes of that which distinguishes our land from all other civilized nations.
Bread, bacon, milk, orange juice, hamburger, steak fries, lettuce are not generally the kind of items which require participation in a safari. Frodo is, however, immediately accosted by an elderly person wanting him to sample apple juice. Although Frodo has a certain fondness for apple juice, particularly when it is offered sans cost, he is irritated by intrusions upon his appointed rounds. Once he has laid waste to this insurgent, he decides to start the search for those items on his list least likely to spoil or to suffer once removed from their storage unit and placed in Frodo's cart.
Frodo determined that the frozen steak fries should be the last item placed in the cart, logically enough. For whatever purpose Frodo first found himself in the frozen foods, with steak fries prominently displayed therein. Fearing that he might not be able to pass this way again, Frodo decided to scrap his original plan and to take advantage of this easy kill. Amazingly, the milk, juice, and lettuce followed soon thereafter, and Frodo was beginning to feel a certain level of comfort amidst the ladies who insist upon stopping in the absolute middle of an aisle, almost daring the passage of any male on either side.
Bacon is a pork product, is it not? Why therefore would bacon not be assembled in the meat section alongside anything labeled as "pork?" While in the general vicinity, Frodo was accosted by another elderly person wanting him to taste her "cracker with cheese." She was very insistent. Frodo thinks she was hitting on him.
At last, Frodo had only the "hamburger" on his list, and he had already noted many plastic wrapped piles of ground meat from afar. Ground "chuck," ground "roast," and something that looked like a "ground ball," once neatly arranged, had been examined, quite obviously, by the entire population of Wasilla, Alaska, during the past thirty minutes. It took Frodo's real tears to bring a sympathetic response from the "butcher," which resulted not only in the final "kill" of this adventure, but a permanent level of gratitude to the nameless individual who will have a special place in Heaven (right next to Frodo).
Then, the white knuckled mania struck as originally feared by Frodo. Proud he was that he could enter the "10 items or less only, checks accepted," line honestly, he noted that there was only one shopper in line in front of him. Frodo recognized her as one who had parked herself in the middle of the aisle that separated soup from dog food. Frodo noted the presence of at least 75 items in her cart. Sensing danger, Frodo began his retreat from the check-out line, only to find himself trapped by the same lady who had blocked the aisle between magazines and greeting cards. She was reading a copy of "National Enquirer" and did not respond to Frodo's whimper. Frodo accepted his fate.
The lady in front of Frodo carefully analyzed every keystroke by the smiling check-out lady, that is until the cantaloupe rang up at $1.19 rather than $.89. The entire function of business in North America came to a halt due to the allegation of an incorrect price by the one person in line in front of Frodo. The blood disappeared from Frodo's extremities, and he considered making a break for it and running over the miscreant. The lady required a "price check" (two of the most dreaded words in Frodo's vocabulary). After an inordinate delay, Frodo cleared his throat, and offered to give the shopper 20 cents if she would merely pass through the system as is, and bring order back into the universe.
Frodo had never before been publicly identidfied as a "Communist." As he considered the indignity of the allegation, he briefly thought about strangulation, or perhaps a thrashing with a plastic container of milk.
Eventually, the harpie moved on, and Frodo was greeted by the overly-friendly check-out lady, who noted that she lived in the same subdivision as the Shire, and that she hoped Frodo was having a "good day." Frodo was speechless. Hadn't she paid attention? Hadn't she been humilated by the overweight aisle-blocker?
From his rear Frodo heard the "National Enquirer" reader complain about the "slow-mover" in front of her.
Had there been a United States Marine Corps Enlistment Booth in front of the store, Frodo would have sought enlistment. He wanted to kill someone, soon.
Get well soon Sam, please.