Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Tale of Two Guys

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .   Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

My local big box pet supply store cannot by any stretch of the imagination be compared to France. But the French Revolution, or at least the famous opening lines to Dickens' tale about it, came to mind after my weekend trip there (to the pet supply store, not {sigh} to France) to pick up dog food. 

I blithely strolled by the shopping carts queued up in the store's foyer; after all, I was only planning to buy a 30 lb bag, and I can lift and carry one of those fairly easily. 

Long story short, when I got to the far back of the store, where the dog food is located, I found that Dazey's food is now available in a 50 lb bag. Even better, the price is much lower per pound in the larger bag. Just as I started to pick one up, a man who looked to be in his late 20's with two boys about 6 and 8 walked up.

When the man saw what I was about to do, he quickly offered to go get a cart for me; I assured him I could carry the bag. We chatted briefly about our dogs, and I noticed his sons waited patiently until I spoke to them. I asked about their dog, and they eagerly and politely responded. 

I was hoping the man would grab the food he wanted and leave. I didn't want him to see me if I struggled with the bag, but I also didn't want to put him to any trouble. 

He made no move to pick up a bag of food for his own dog. Instead, he hoisted the bag I had been about to pick up from the bottom shelf, turned to his boys, and said, "Come on, guys, we're going to carry this up to the checkout for this nice lady." We walked to the checkout together, he told his sons to get a cart, and he put the bag in the cart for me. I thanked the three of them; he said it was no trouble at all, and he and his boys headed back to the dog food.

I paid for the food and rolled the cart out to my car.

That's when I realized that getting the bag out of the cart was going to be more difficult than just lifting it off the bottom shelf. Because I had to bend over into the cart to get the bag, I couldn't bend with my knees to lift it.

I opened my car door and studied the situation. I tried to lift the bag and had very little luck.

That's when I noticed a man who looked to be 30 or so sitting in the driver's seat of a car about 15' away. He was watching me with amused interest. I turned back to my task.

I considered tipping the cart so that the front rested on the ground, allowing me to pull the 50-pound bag straight out and up. I gave that a try, but when I tipped the cart, it began to roll away from me.

I heard the man laughing.

I ignored him.

I pulled the cart upright again. I considered going back in the store to see if an employee could help me. Just then, I saw out of the corner of my eye that the amused guy was getting out of his car.

"Finally," I thought, "this guy is going to help me."

He didn't. He walked right by, looking straight at me and chuckling. 

That gave me just enough impetus to haul the bag out of the cart and onto the back seat of my car.  

I closed my car and locked it before returning the cart to the store. As I was turning back toward the parking lot, a coworker came out of the shoe store next door. We stood for a few minutes talking, and as we did, the man who had watched me struggle with the bag, who had found my predicament amusing, walked out carrying a very large (at least 30 lb) bag of dog food.

Obviously, he hadn't failed to help me because of he was unable to do so.

My coworker and I finished our conversation, we went to our cars, and I drove home.

As I did, I couldn't help but laugh. Not just about what had happened, but about how I would definitely try to incorporate the story into my novel.

Have you ever had a real-life experience you'd love to see included in a novel? Feel free to share it via a comment!





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