I’m so glad it’s fall. During brutal Memphis summers, we southern girls start glistening as soon as we step outside. For my anniversary in August, I was gettin’ all gussied-up, with big hair despite 99% humidity, and I forgot I was out of my real expensive perfume. So I drove to the store to buy some, and before I could park and walk into Walmart, I looked like I’d been hit in the face by a Super Soaker.
You’d think that a visit to the grocery store would bring relief from the kind of sweltering stickiness that makes the lotion on my legs run down to my flip flops. However, every time I approach Piggly Wiggly’s sliding doors, an Arctic blast rushes through my damp clothes, gripping every muscle in my body and twisting me into a tight-jawed, grumpy-butt Sue Sylvester (Glee) with frozen underwear.
During one of our many heat waves, I went to the grocery and tackled the frozen food aisle first. I rummaged around the freezer, deciding which vegetable I could fool my kids into eating. Consequently, my fingers turned dangerously white and I had to step back, holding the glass door open at arms length. Then I couldn’t read the stupid packages. That’s why it’s always so cold in there—all the semi-blind, middle-aged ladies stand four feet away from the freezer holding the doors wide open. I gave in to the cold and shut the door, but then the glass fogged up and I couldn’t see inside.
If I didn’t come home with some interesting food, the kids would probaby revolt by grabbing their recorders (the sadistic musical instruments) that they’ve had since elementary school and screeching “Hot Cross Buns” 24/7 until there are some REAL Oreos in the pantry, and not those low-fat ones, dammit! They’re teenagers now so they think they can say “dammit.”
So I stuck my hand in and quickly grabbed some chimichangas with that tasty meat filler like Taco Bell uses. Except the kind with no beans. Beans make me windy. Not that I eat that crap, since you ask.
Turning down the cereal aisle, I could still see my breath and decided I’d had enough. I demanded to see the store manager. A large Mexican man lumbered up. I knew he was the manager because he had “Señor Chapa” on his name tag.* I know that means he’s the boss because I’m pretty good at Mexican. I introduced myself, and his face dropped like maybe that old cake-nazi witch from the bakery department had told him about me. Not that I’ve ever pissed anyone off in the bakery department.
“I am freezing my butt off in your store,” I grimaced. “Will you please turn the freaking air conditioning off?” I told him in a real polite way because I’ve been known to sorta unleash before. He’s lucky I didn’t rip him a new one like I did to the waitress at Longhorn when she said they were out of Chocolate Molten Lava cake and I had a coupon.
“Ma’m, I can’t turn the air conditioner off because one person is cold,” said Chapa.
“Look around, Nacho. Do you see anyone over there at the magazine rack leisurely admiring Ryan Reynolds’ abs in People? No. That’s a sign.”
“I don’t think that means customers are cold,” he said. Maybe they don’t like Ryan Reynolds’ abs.”
“Chewy, you’re just talking nonsense now. I think the cold has frozen some of your brain neutrons. Maybe you shouldn’t be managing a grocery store. Obviously you don’t know Prime Beef when you see it. But can we get back to my frigidity?”
“Well, if other people were complaining, I’d turn the air down,” he said callously.
“You know what, Pancho? You’re right. I’m the one that’s loco. But it would be a shame if the fingers of one of those little old ladies on the scooters were so cold she couldn’t grip the brake and smashed into one of those waist-high freezers and flipped in head-first and broke a hip, now wouldn’t it?”
Since then Chubba and I are pals. He figures I kept him from a lawsuit by the blue-hairs. I come in every Wednesday and he fires up the toaster oven and makes me hot, free samples. I think Gordito could, legit, be my soulmate. He bends over backwards for me, and he knows Mama likes her some chimichangas. No beans.
*Please do not be too sensitive and deem this story to be derogatory toward Hispanics. It’s just a joke! Some of the most wonderful people I know are Mexican—I’m married to one, so therefore my kids are too!