Friday, February 22, 2013

True Story #1: Gone With the Wind

So there was Fr. A., in the supermarket parking lot, taking a cart and pushing it toward the store.  "Huh," he said, noticing a tag bolted to the cart.  "An electronic anti-theft device.  I wonder how that works?  Good idea, though."

As often happens, there was a newspaper flyer lying in the cart, advertising today's great price on beef or Snak-Paks or some damn thing.  Father A. customarily ignores flyers.  But when a savage gust of wind snatched the flyer, your humble blogger leapt into action.  He hates litter.

So off he went, chasing the flapping scrap of newsprint.  At first, out of reflex, he pushed the cart, too.  But then the wind reached into his pocket and snatched away his shopping list -- which had been drafted by the lovely Mother Anonymous, and as to the contents of which Fr. A. was utterly ignorant.  He could not afford to lose that list, so he dropped the cart and sprinted, literally diving off the edge of the pavement, catching the list in his hand, and rolling down a grassy embankment toward Sunrise Highway.

The flyer was lost forever, but the shopping list was saved.

Father Anonymous felt, let's admit it, pretty studly.  This was the most athletic thing he had done in weeks.  Sure, he was panting and bruised; sure, he had not retrieved the flyer; but he had saved the shopping list.  His wife would not be disappointed, his son would not go hungry, and his credentials as a hunter-gatherer would not be called into question.

He puffed his way back to the shopping cart and pushed.  At which moment he learned how shopping cart containment systems work.  It's really very interesting; a cover snaps down over one wheel, and prevents the cart cart from moving, just the way the DOT might do with an illegally parked car.  You can't move the thing.  You can't push it, and you can barely drag it.

This is great if the store is trying to avoid losing their carts to bag ladies.  It is less great if a minister, sprinting after his wind-blown shopping list, abandoned the thing in the middle of a traffic lane.  And the same sort of scruples that make him chase an unwanted newsprint flyer mean he can't just leave the cart for somebody else to deal with.

So Fr. A., sighing mightily at the inconvenience of modern life, grasped the wire cart by its front end and hauled it, slowly and awkwardly, across the asphalt to the little pavilion in the center where the shopping carts are stowed.  Then he took another cart and went shopping.


Thirty minutes later, as Fr. A. was loading the truck with newly-purchased groceries, another statistically improbable gust of wind snatched the shopping list from his pocket.  Did the poor dumb schmuck say, "Ah, well, I don't need it anymore, anyway"?  Oh, no.  He sprang into action, sprinted across the parking lot and onto the embankment.  This time he slipped on some huge spiked seedpods -- horse chestnut?  Who knows? -- and fell, rolling down to the margin of the highway.  Again.

The list, still in the grip of a mighty wind, flew straight to the windshield of a passing truck.  Astonishingly, nobody was killed.

1 comment:

Francie Gross said...

And, hopefully, Fr. A's groceries were not stolen from his cart while he was off pursuing the wayward list. I'm thankful, indeed, no one was damaged in the course of this adventure.