Truth be told, I have come to enjoy the occasional evening, astride my fiance, discussing hand soap options. There are several signs of my aging, the increasing likelihood one will find actual medicine in my medicine cabinet for instance, but these evenings are unparalleled. As one pushes the giant cart through the aisles, contemplating throw pillows, the sagging ass and slow march toward death are all the more salient. But these are only the nagging thoughts of a too-thoughtful writer type. In the heat of the moment, I swallow it all and become entranced by containers. I love a good container. It was just when I was reconsidering exactly how large a salad-from-home-container ought to be that rain fell upon our parade of blissful consumerism. The rain of Crime.
To say that we became too distracted by the Lawn & Garden section would be blaming the victim. That said, prior to even arriving in Grocery, we did linger among the outdoor furniture a bit long for people without a yard. We retreated from the aisle of stackable lids back to the jungle of wrought iron and wicker, where we had left our cart, when we found the unthinkable. Our cart. Was. Gone.
"Did we leave it here?"
"Right by the pink XXL Boston shirts, yes, definitely."
"But who would take it...?"
The reality set in and we began frantically searching the vicinity. We felt naked and threatened, desperate. Who would do this?!
Target on a Friday night is a rough place. The aisles were littered with discarded items, chosen then reconsidered. A girl on a scooter whizzed past, the tag on her helmet fluttering behind her. A man tossed a ball to a toddler, who let the ball dribble dangerously into our path, nearly tripping me. Mothers told seemingly infinite children, "Stop it." They all had carts. They were all suspects. A spinning arial shot over the aisles would have been appropriate.
We walked aisle upon aisle, our anxiety growing. Did we have time, before they closed, to get a new cart and re-select all of our purchases? What if we saw someone with our cart, would we confront him/her? What if someone just happened to have three bras, a pair of socks, tennis balls and a frying pan and we falsely accused them?
I suspected another woman with similar breasts stole our cart. For some reason it is impossible to find a good 36C bra. The small breasted women have all sorts of adorable options and they don't have to worry about function since it doesn't take a lot of innovation to lift those things. The very large breasted women have to abandon style in order to prevent physical harm to themselves or others. 36C seems to be large enough so they make them in the terrible cotton "no one sleeps with you" style. Yet it is small enough so they make them in the "you sleep with people for money" style, which tends to include padding that's designed to also protect vital organs in a car crash. However, there is a style in between that combines style with function. That sweet spot, for millions of 36Cs out there, is elusive. Our cart had boasted an impossible three fully functional, highly attractive 36Cs. Two had been the last on the rack.
I was checking every lady in that place. While I ogled the chests of every female shopper we passed, Bill accosted members of the sales team. He posited that it was more likely an employee believed our cart to be abandoned and brought it back to the front of the store. I felt his theory was naive; he felt mine was unlikely but might be a fun way to pass the time.
In the end, we had to start over. It was heartbreaking. I ended up with only one bra, and it was the polka-dotted one that I liked the least. We nearly forgot to stop for tennis balls. The Lawn & Garden section, on the second pass, held no magic. Passersby neared our carts and we flinched - scarred, scared, ashamed. Closing time approached and we hadn't even discussed bath mat replacement options.
Life is so hard.