Say Hey To The Quaker Oats ManPosted: September 30, 2010
The weather is finally cooling. Last night seemed a good time to make a batch of gumbo. I didn’t have one of the critical ingredients. Gumbo without okra just isn’t gumbo, so off to the store I went.
So begins this tale of woe.
Chivalry Identifies a Need
As I made my rounds in the market, I witnessed an unfortunate event.
In the cereal aisle, I saw a woman reaching for a box of granola on a shelf just out of her reach. When she moved the box she’d selected the one next to it also moved, because a third box had been placed horizontally across the tops of both boxes. Trying to avoid dropping the boxes, the woman grabbed the second box.
At this point she had both arms outstretched, with a box of granola in each hand. As I moved down the aisle, the third box that was perched on the two she had in her hands, teeters and falls. It slides down her arms like a train on rails, crashing into her face. It looked like it kind of hurt.
I’ve got to help, right?
Chivalry Strikes An Odd Pose
So there she is, arms outstretched, with a cereal box in each hand,as if engaged in some sort of worship ritual to The Quaker Oats Man. The aggressive third box of granola leans on her face. She holds the pose, trying not to drop anything,
Because Mom and Dad raised a gentleman, I sprung into action.
I walked over, leaned over her cart, over her purse and reached for the box on her face. Just as my hand gets in front of her face, she moved. The box dropped. She tried to catch it between her elbows but did not succeed.
That left me standing on one leg, leaning over her stuff, with my hand in her face. I was in her space. She looked at me, questioningly.
I’ve got to say something, right?
Chivalry Should Learn When To Keep Its Mouth Shut.
So there I am, in her personal space, with my hand in her face. She’s looking at me. I felt the need to address her in some manner. There are a lot of things I could have said and didn’t.
I said “nice catch”.
Nice catch, not “are you alright?”
Not “why on earth would they stack boxes like that?”
I’ve got to get out of the awkward situation, right?
Chivalry Suffers For Having Talked Too Much
So there I am still on one foot, having picked nearly the most bizarre thing to have said to this stranger in this situation. I think it best to move on before I feel compelled to speak again.
I return to my cart and move down the aisle. At the end of the aisle I decide that I do not want to cross paths with Mrs. Willie Mays again. I do the only logical thing to do that doesn’t involve running out of the store without my okra. I skip the next aisle. I thought I was so smart.
Mrs. Willie Mays must have had the same thought, because there she was coming toward me from the other end of the aisle. We both shopped that aisle and skipped the next one, but inevitably we crossed paths again.
Now feeling less like a chivalrous gentleman and more like an accidental stalker, I’ve got to leave the store, right?
Chivalry Can’t Make Gumbo Without Okra
I went directly to the checkout aisle.
As they finished ringing up my purchases I realized I’d failed to get the main thing I’d gone shopping for. I still did not own any okra. There was no way I was going back into the store to get it, I was sure to run into Mrs. Mays. I’d just stop at the store down the block and get it.
I put my purchases in the car and started to back out of my parking space. A car on the opposite side of the parking row started backing out so quickly that I had to pull back into my space to avoid a collision. I finally pulled out and got to the traffic signal. I looked to the side to check traffic before pulling out onto the road. There on my left, in the car that almost backed into mine, was Mrs. Mays.
The gumbo was really good.