I looked at the debit machine.
"How can I swipe it toward you, when you're standing right in front of me?" I asked. "The swiper thing goes up and down."
She looked up from investigating her chipped, black nail polish and repeated, "Swipe towards me."
I was in a place I hated more than church, on the brink of forking out $55 bucks for what would amount to one shitty, spice-free beige meal even the dogs wouldn't eat. I had no eco-friendly bags in a bag-free zone, no time, and no patience for this ignorant fucking teenager with so many facial piercings she looked like she'd survived the Challenger explosion.
"I can't swipe it toward you." I repeated, not willing to be out-bitched by this slip of a greasy-haired Avril Lavigne wannabe. "It's physically impossible. You are standing right in front of me."
Blank stare. Sigh. Clearly it was time for a little life lesson before Monday no-hockey home cooked meal night.
I began, "Listen, either move the fuck over to the left, in which case the stripe would indeed be facing toward you – or be more explicit." I advised. "Try being a little more creative with your insolence and disgust for authority, lemon gin hangovers and minimum wage". I continued. "Try, 'stripe goes back toward where we stock the Depends'." I suggested. "Or, how about 'stripe goes down and to the left, kind of like your sagging breasts, you miserable old bag'."
Blank stare. Clearly she was no Shamwow, willing to soak up my tips on how to survive in a cruel and graceless world.
Tired of messing with the checked-out girl, I swiped, then threw my groceries into the cart. I then threw them into the backseat of the truck, then into the frying pan, then on to a plate. Finally, I placed the brown and beige pile of slop lovingly in front of the Little Bastard, who looked at it with the same disdain as Avril back at the Superstore.
"Don't say one bloody word!" I said to him, as he looked at the gray strips of rainbow flecked beef, nestled on a bed of stiff rice. "It's a stir fry."
I sat down, took a bite, and made a declaration. Or a proclamation. Whatever.
I announced that this would be my third, and my final, Monday no-hockey home cooked meal night.
All I could hear was a murmur, through a mouthful of chewy horse meat, "Oh, thank God." I believe he said.
For $55 bucks we could have had 18 hot dogs at the Dawg Father, two delicious meals in a booth at the Greek Village on Quinpool, or takeout – twice – from The Armview. For $55 bucks I could stock up on frozen entrées from Jane's on the Common or the Italian Market. For $55 bucks I could have bought two bottles of wine, opened a bag of Cheesies and called Swiss Chalet. No mess, no fuss, no teenage 'tude, and everybody's happy.
Whipping up a home cooked meal after working all day – just to prove a motherly point – means I have to buy everything right down to the pan. Even that little chubbette Rachel Ray couldn't throw together a meal with ketchup, Five Alive, a jar of stuffed olives, and a muffin tin.
Fuck it. If the little bastard wants a home cooked meal he can marry a moron, learn how to cook, or go live with the neighbours.
It's October, and I'm hanging up my spatula. Just in time for Thanksgiving.