There were a number of places I used to buy my brandy.
One was a grocery store within walking distance of our house. This sounds ideal, but it wasn’t. For one thing, all their spirits were kept in a locked cabinet, so the cashier had to run get the key and open the cabinet for me. Then I had to pretend to scan the shelves looking for what I wanted rather than show that I knew EXACTLY where the brandy was (I gave up on this pretense after awhile). Meanwhile people are waiting in line behind me. It was all just so … conspicuous. Plus, I always felt I had to have something else to buy, to justify running to the store. We’re out of eggs? Oh, I’ll go! But I rarely got to go by myself, one or both of the girls would always clamor to come with me. More conspicuousness. Who is that lady with the two children buying eggs and brandy? At 11 am?
There was also a different grocery store, where we did our weekly shopping. This one was better because the spirits were kept on open shelves near the wine. Easy to slip into the cart. But I didn’t always do the weekly shopping, and it was further away — not somewhere I could “pop over” to anytime.
Then there was a drugstore downtown, near the stop where I caught the bus after work. It was easy to leave work five minutes early and stop in before catching the bus home. But here again the spirits were kept behind the counter, and you had to ask the cashier to get it for you. Still, this seemed the best option and it was where I bought my brandy most frequently.
Except … I started recognizing the cashiers. And were they starting to recognize me? Standing in line, I would see the cashier who waited on me last time and pray, please don’t let me get her, please don’t let me get her … but it seemed I always did. One time, a lady waited on me that I knew I had seen before. She got my brandy without comment and ran my card. As she handed me my receipt, she said, “See you next time.”
What does she mean by that???
Yes, I really did worry about this. It’s actually been a real, tangible benefit of the last few weeks that I haven’t had to think about this. I went to that drugstore yesterday to get some shampoo, and the two cashiers on duty were totally unfamiliar to me. I remembered how I would have felt relieved at this, a few weeks ago. Now, it didn’t matter, and I had to smile.