A Buggy Butt Bumping Rant — Get Outta My Space!

Someone ought to teach you some manners before you get hurt.

Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

I was at the grocery story last night, and having little sleep the night before was not in the best, of moods. Still, I don’t think that fully accounted for the annoyance I felt at the guy behind me in line who kept bumping me with his cart, nor my internal tirade.

Okay, seriously, that’s it! I don’t know you so what makes it okay to push me with your cart? And, by the way, pretending to read one of those gossip rags which shouts “I had Baryshnikov’s alien love child!” in bold all caps doesn’t mean you get a free pass. It’s not like you can’t tell when your cart is pressing against some kind of barrier and as I’m the only one in front of it what do you think that barrier is?

Deep breaths, take deep breaths. It’s not worth it.

What the. . . ? Bumping wasn’t enough, now it’s the full court press? I am not veal I’ll have you know, so cramping me into space where I’m caught between my cart, your cart, the conveyor belt, left, and the candy aisle, right!

And while I don’t like that trapped feeling or being squeezed like that spoiled brat in Willy Wonka who turns into a giant blueberry it’s nothing compared to being clipped right in my achilles when, instead of steady pressure, you give your buggy a good push.

Do it once, all you’ll get is a dirty look while I conspicuously rub my ankle which, given the space you’ve hemmed me into, takes the skill of a contortionist to accomplish. Your steady look as you pretend not to know is fooling no one. Do it is a second time, and you’ll get a barely polite and clearly annoyed sounding request to please watch where you’re buggy is ending up coupled with an ice cold stare. Should there be a third time, all bets are off!

I don’t even know where you think you’re going or have you not noticed there are still two other people in front of me? You’re probably one of those people who honk in the middle of a traffic jam as if that’s going to manage to unblock the roads or the single car length you manage to pull ahead is actually going to make a difference. Have you never learned the concept of personal space?

Seven times one is seven, seven times two is fourteen, seven times three is . . .

Owww! Did I not warn you about my achilles? And no your joke about how my achilles must now be a killing me is not funny! I bet you probably don’t think twice about getting right up in someone’s face when talking to them either, completely failing to notice them moving backwards instead, thinking it’s an invitation to move closer again. Obviously missed the trapped, irritated look in their eyes when they realize their back has hit a wall and they have nowhere else to go.

I’m convinced that not squashing, bumping or otherwise molesting those who stand in front of you in the checkout line with your buggy should be added to the criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet, I’m nothing if not resilient and I usually get over a temper pretty quickly and soon I my mind was focused on happier thoughts. Unfortunately. it wouldn’t be long before I’d learned that I was right about the kind of person he was.

Truthfully, he’d been quite polite in line, apologizing for the bumping and what not and seeming actually embarrassed by the repeated molestation. So when he came over and started making small talk while I was redistributing items in my bags after we’d both checked out, I thought, “Why the heck not?” It’s not like I had anywhere to be and it was still early. I was to regret this decision.

While the man seemed totally reasonable in line, out of line he quickly became very intense about his political views, a topic he launched into without any warning. He evidently believed the proper way to harangue someone for an opinion they hadn’t expressed, not that there was any chance of getting a word in edgewise, was to lean into them stopping scant centimeters from their face. I began the grocery store two step backwards.

By the time he had backed me up to the wall, it was clearly he no longer made any attempt to disguise his intentions as anything other than an evangelical attempt to convert a heathen. Had he bothered to come up for air, he would have learned that we were actually of a similar mind on the subject.

Instead, things rapidly deteriorated into what sounded something out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. If ever there was a time I wanted to try electroshock therapy on someone this was it. Another minute went by and I actually found myself looking around for those auto defibrillator machines you can find in some public places.

After several attempts at, “I’m sorry but I really have to go before my pit bull comes looking for me,” and “As pleasant as this has been, I’m late for a root canal and a tooth extraction,” which had fallen on deaf ears, I’d finally had enough.

I feinted left, did a run around, then spun like I’ve seen them do in the NFL in case he might try to grab me, tackle me or otherwise keep me there. Unfortunately, this is a move I gather has to be practiced, and forgetting to spot like I’d learned to do in ballet class, became dizzy while the weight of my grocery bag kept me spinning off balance.

Fearing what would happen if I actually fell and was too woozy to be able to immediately jump to my feet and take off away from this madman, I did everything I could to stay on my feet. This translated into moving quickly enough in a one direction while continuing to spin out of control to prevent losing my balance.

I’m not sure how many small children and pyramids of cans I managed to knock down before finally losing my balance, but I’d hazard a guess it was several in each category. I’m fairly certain I took out at least one toddler, as when I finally landed on my back side covered in sweat from my impromptu whirling dervish dance routine, I had a blue binky hanging from a coat button.

The humiliation I felt at my less than graceful dismount lasted only as long as the dizziness. Once it passed, I was overjoyed to realize that I’d somehow managed to maneuver my way through the automatic doors and out into the parking lot! Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I jumped to my feet, and ran for the subway, binky and all.

For any of you who have failed to get the message about taking a lesson or two in maintaining optimal personal distance which includes a prohibition against buggy butt bumping and entrapment against a wall with intent to smother, be advised:

I’ve got my own personal defibrillator on order from Amazon, and next time I’ll be packing, paddles charged.

Thanks to Robin Klammer for inspiring this piece with her story, “Could You Please Not Crawl Up My Ass?!”

Natalie Frank (Taye Carrol) has had work featured in Haunted Waters Press, Weirdbook Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Lycan Valley Press and Zero Fiction among others. Her poetry has been featured a several anthologies. She is the Managing Editor for novellas and serials at LVP Publications.

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