It's True. You Can't Put A Price On Stupidity

*This post was difficult for me to write. It took an inordinate amount of editing to keep it somewhat light hearted. I deliberately left out some of my 'new best friend's' racist comments made as I was unloading my groceries. I am trying to make light of what an outrageous twit she was but I am still burning with rage on behalf of my son, my children and disabled people every where.*

After putting it off for a month, I could no longer avoid the inevitable. The cupboards were bare. Short of having my children root for the freeze-dried remains of stale and long forgotten food at the bottom of the deep freezer in order to feed them, I had to buck up and face the music.

Specifically the well-choreographed music of cash registers beeping, children screaming and the sounds of cans falling from overly stacked displays at an over-sized food chain.

Despite my well-documented love dislike for grocery stores and food shopping, I found myself wandering the aisles of domestic hell, randomly putting food items in my cart in an effort to finish as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I pushed that shopping cart around like a team of fire-breathing demons was chasing me, singeing my butt-cheeks with their flames. I must have looked like I was trying to qualify for one of those cheesy game show competitions. Ready, set, shop!Â

After 45 minutes an eternity I had finally piled enough foodstuff, toilet paper, pet food and personal products into a small slightly lop-sided mountain and headed for the gates of hell. Also known as the check out cashiers.

With a bead of sweat slowly trickling down my neck, I stopped to peruse the freakishly long line ups and fleetingly thought of abandoning my filled cart and making an escape (sans groceries) to the nearest coffee shop. While mentally balancing how much longer I could feed stale breadcrumbs to my children before social services intervened, I quickly scratched my escape plans and randomly chose a line.

I've learned two things over the course of my life that served me well at that very moment in time. Adoption bureaucrats work hand-in-hand with social services and none of those bureaucratic type people have a well-developed sense of ha-ha. Forcing my children to forage for food certainly would not look good in our bid to adopt.

Secondly, it doesn't matter which line I choose to stand in, the moment I'm in it, time freakishly stands still so every other person in the store escapes the gates of hell while I stand waiting and wishing I chose a faster line.

With a deep sigh, I pushed my cart to what seemed to be the shortest line and waited to empty out my bank account. Just then I noticed a woman stand behind me holding only two items in her hands. I'm not a demon so I turned around and offered to let her go ahead of me. I figured maybe the Gods would notice my good grocery store karma and the line through hell would move a sliver faster.

The woman, an overly bleached blonde in a suede brown jacket thanked me kindly and moved ahead of me. Smiling at me, she eyed my cart, noticed my pathetic expression and decided to try and distract me from the woes of waiting.

Because nothing makes a social recluse such as myself, more comfortable than being forced into small talk with a random stranger while waiting to empty out one's pockets.

We briefly chatted over the absurdity of how busy the store was and how long the lines up were. We discussed global warming Angelina Jolie and American politics the weather as we sprouted more gray hair and slowly morphed into aged old women waiting for the line to move.

Eventually our line moved ahead enough that I was able to start unloading my vast array of goods onto the conveyor belt as she stood there and ogled every. single. item I pulled out of my cart. While she didn't actually verbalize her thoughts, with every item she saw me place on the belt I could hear her silent critisms.

"Honey nut Cheerios? Why doesn't she just pour refined white sugar down her throat instead?"

"No name canned tomatoes? Poor thing, she must be one step away from standing in line at the food bank."

Finally my over-processed blonde friend got bored with snooping through my purchases and took her laser beam gaze to running it up and down my person instead. I could feel her check out the size of my ass when I bent over to get the toilet paper from underneath the cart.

I saw her check out my wedding ring in an obvious attempt to gauge my social status and wealth. Her eyes traveled to my coat, probably looking for missing buttons or stains and she stopped once she saw my footwear.

I love it when people try and pigeon hole another person based strictly on their grocery store purchases and appearance. It's as if someone could learn something about me based on the fact I wear scuffed cowboy boots and have a preference for oversized bottles of personal lubrication.

Oh wait. Nevermind.

We were getting closer to the holy grail cash register when our cashier called a price check. Within a matter of seconds a brunette male employee rolled his wheelchair over, whispered in the cashier's ear and then rolled away as she resumed whipping things across the scanner as we waited for our turn at bat.

My new best friend stared in horror at the obviously disabled young man working in his wheel chair and leaned closer to me and whispered, "That's why I stopped after having two healthy children. I couldn't imagine raising a disabled child. What kind of quality of life does that man have? Sentenced to work in a grocery store for the rest of his life."

Ya. Because the abled bodied people choose to work at the grocery store but the big bad world knocks on disabled people's doors, holds a gun to their head and says "Work at Walmart or else."

I looked at my new best friend and thought, "I have two choices here Tanis. I can educate this woman or pretend I no speaka no inglish and just ignore her."

It didn't take long for me to decide which road to take. As per usual, it wasn't the high road.

Bristling, I looked her square in the eyes and raised my voice slightly. "I have a handicapped son and the quality of his life far exceeds what your limited imagination can conceive."

To be fair, my new best friend blushed to her freshly bleached roots. But then she apologized to me.

"I'm so sorry. How horrible for you," she stammered.

It was all I could do not to smack her. But visions of me behind bars while wearing an orange jumpsuit flashed before my eyes, persuading me to go in a different direction.

"It's not horrible. Quite the opposite. It is different than raising an able-bodied child. But different is wonderful too. And that man in the wheel chair would probably run you down with his chair in the parking lot for thinking his life was less than yours. That it was horrible for his family. For him. Just so you know," I scolded.

She stood at the cashier, as her items were being scanned and she eyed the man in question and then turned back to me.

"It's not that I have anything against disabilities," she assured me as she handed over her cash to beat a hasty retreat from my death glare and that of the cashier who had overheard our entire conversation.

"We adopted a dog from the S.P.C.A. We picked a three-legged dog who was blind in one eye. He was a good dog," she smiled at us as she grabbed her bag, her receipt and practically ran for the exit.

I just stood there with my jaw on the floor, shocked with disbelief she just compared a disabled mutt to my son, that store employee and any other person with a disability.

The cashier looked at me and rolled her eyes towards my now fleeing new best friend and mocked, "That woman was horrible."

Shaking my head, I had to agree with her.

"That man," she continued, "is my brother. And he works part-time here to pay for his university. Stupid people."

Sing it sister.

I'm hearing you and beating on that drum right beside you.