Friday, August 19, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday: No Goofing Off

No Goofing Off

Jennifer E. Miller

A shopping outing with my husband is usually a spectacle equal to that of a whining toddler. He generally doesn’t enjoy shopping, and browsing is out of the question. He likes to stick to a list. Yesterday, however, was an exception.
Tom and I had a few errands to run before picking up our daughter from the bus stop. First we stopped at an electronic store to research new computers. Our second stop was Costco, one of those warehouse club stores, with a small list: granola bars, crackers, allergy medicine, and grapes. I must admit, it’s a headache to shop there. The parking lot is consistently packed, items never seem to be in the same location, and the checkout lines are horrendously long. Tom doesn't shop here often, but he has been subjected to my rants. We pulled into a parking spot about a mile away. As we walked towards the entrance in the midday August heat, he said, “No goofing off. Let’s just get in and out as fast as possible.” Not goofing off meant no browsing. But I forgot how distracting Costco can be to those who don't frequent this establishment.
We grabbed a cart and went in. First we passed the electronics section. I noticed the computers and briefly stopped to price compare them to the electronics store. Tom shook his head and rolled his eyes.
“Hurry up and get on with the list. We don’t want to be late to the bus stop.”
“Okay, okay,” I complied. The computers will have to wait.
We continued on to the snack section which was only a few feet ahead. I steered around a table with neatly folded jackets.
“I was planning to buy the same granola bars as before is that okay—hey where did you go?” I said to, apparently, myself. I whirled my head around, looking for Tom. I spotted him by the jackets. I pushed the oversized cart back towards his direction. “Find something interesting?”
“These jackets are nice, and only twenty dollars!” he exclaimed. “I need a dressier jacket.”
“Those are medium weight outdoor jackets,” I said.
“No they aren’t, they are too nice to be used outdoors.”
I realized he spends far too much time in rain gear on a boat to understand what a “dressier” jacket actually is.
“When are you going to need a ‘dressy’ jacket? You hate wearing nice clothes.”
“I don’t know, but I suppose I will need one at some point.” He examined the jacket closer, checking out all the pockets and running his hand down the fabric. “Which color do you like better: black or grey?”
I looked at the other choices. “I like the orange one,” I said.
Tom gave me a look of disgust, grabbed a black one, and placed it in the cart.
We turned around to move away from the jackets when I said, “Before I realized you disappeared, I wanted to ask you if the same granola bars were suitable--“
“Whoa!” he interrupted.
A wall of beef jerky stood before us. It’s his favorite fishing snack and he was staring at the biggest selection available. There were jerky sticks, turkey jerky, and individual snack sized. Tom grabbed the latter and added it to the cart with his jacket. With a big grin he asked, “What were you saying?”
“You want the same granola bars or a different kind?” I scowled as I led him over to the choices.
He selected the same lemon bars I purchased before. Finally, something in the cart off the list.
We zipped across to the pharmacy area and I grabbed allergy medicine and moved on to the cracker aisle. Damn you, Costco, for placing chips next to the crackers!
“Oh, hey, I need chips. We are almost out at home.” He ventured through the chip selection and was disappointed in the available varieties. It was taking him a several minutes to decide and I grew impatient.
“I can get those when I do the regular grocery shopping in a couple days,” I suggested, hoping to speed up our progress. He already spent extra time on the jacket and beef jerky after scolding me for spending 17.2 seconds looking at computer prices.
“No. We’ll run out by then. I’ll pick something here.”
I reminded him that as we entered the store he wanted to simply get in and out as quickly as possible. His selective hearing disability must have acted up again because he ignored me.
Finally, he chose the individually sized variety package. I grabbed the package of Goldfish crackers from the list and we continued. I tried to take a shortcut through the housewares to get to the produce department, but I wasn’t cunning enough. He found them. The things that take up all the time in Costco. I should have known better. I was foolish not to anticipate it.
“Check out all the samples today!” he beamed.

Perhaps it was best I leave him while I finish shopping and get to the bus stop. After all, no goofing off. 

Copyrighted 2016 by Jennifer E. Miller

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