The Chosen One
I’ve just come for the essentials. Which eh… seems to be Nutella, and almond milk. My wife said stuff to me before I left. Words meant to convey what we needed but I don’t remember what any of them were. Shift change for the hamsters. And really, when the wheel isn’t turning… you probably shouldn’t realistically expect anything beyond shallow breathing and and a range of movement indistinguishable from cadaveric spasm. So I’ve decided to snake through all the aisles to see if a visual assault of merchandise will spark some sort of recollection or flash-back.
I’m staring vacantly at the crazy-selection of shower gels, wondering if I am defined more by medium-dry skin or Aloe Vera when I get approached by a homeless guy. His words not mine, I add after some consideration. My friend in the UK recently got called into HR for NOT using the word ‘un-housed’ when referencing a eh… spontaneous settlement nearby and I don’t want to court similar misadventure. Adjectives fill me with incredible dread these days.
In any event they state their, eh… adjective, and I don’t correct them. I feel confident that I can work my way through the lingua franca without violence. I am, if anything, cocksure, especially when it comes to grappling with (cunning) linguists. Ha ha.
He asks if I might add to my purchases two items of his and he would wait outside the store for me.
Its a loaf of white bread. And literally the smallest tub of Peanut-butter available. Lilliputian in its utility.
‘Sure’, I say, not really out of genuine magnanimous-ness but more because I never really get asked for anything. At six foot three inches, 230lbs with the gait and bearing of a Uruk-hai I exude unapproachability and I’m suddenly feeling quite pleased with myself.
‘CHA-RIS-MA’ I mouth at the old lady opposite me, pointing at myself. Okay, not really. But on the inside that’s what I’m doing.
I mean everyone else he approached probably told him to ‘fuck off’ and I’m the last choice. BUT we are not going to dwell on this likely scenario. I AM THE CHOSEN ONE!
In any event since you’ve had the good fortune to chose me as your food purchaser/champion person I will endeavor to do a good job.
First off I go replace the minuscule vessel with the giant-ludicrous-size version of his favored crunchy legume spread. I also add another loaf of bread. And then, putting my game face on… well I go a bit overboard. What else would a homeless person want I begin to theorize?
I decide he would want diabetes.
In retrospect maybe nutrient density should have been my guiding light. But I went with fructose content.
He was quite pleased with my selection (I think) as I exit the store and foist one of my burgeoning shopping bags on him. ‘This is way too much’, he says, ‘God bless you’.
I’m stoic. Obviously. And also embarrassed. I’m one of those people who can’t handle gratitude or people making a scene. Also my atheism squirms in my brain when deities are invoked. So I mumble something like, ‘yeah, sure, have a good day’… and walk off. I steal a glance back as I reach the elevators to the parkade. He’s waving frantically at me from the other end of the passage. Gah! It burns me. Need to get away. *pushes the down button repeatedly to make the elevator come faster*
When I get home, I’ve forgotten to buy fruit. Or vegetables. Or snacks for the girls lunch boxes. So there’s that fallout.
I chalk it up as a Pyrrhic victory. I think that’s probably fair.