Paper or Plastic? Losin' It at the QFC

Jojay By Jojay, 15th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Daily Life

Who would have guessed that a simple question from a clerk at the QFC would cause brain freeze.

I can feel myself transmogrified into a bunny

Paper or Plastic? (Losin' it at the QFC )

I read somewhere that nearly ninety percent of our thoughts are a rehash of what happened the day before. I doubt that’s true. I can't even remember what happened ten minute ago, let alone the preceding day.

But assuming that's correct, the ten percent remaining is taken up by my trying to recall what time my son asked me to pick him up at the airport, what motive I gave the chauffeur for killing the rock star on page 50 of my novel I'm writing, and whether or not I can find a birthday card for my mother that opens with “I'll bet you thought I forgot."

Inside our neighborhood QFC, my brain on automatic pilot, I wait for the Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts look-a-like, to ring up a week's supply of groceries. A young boy steals covetous glances as he waits for her to scan the frozen fruit juice.

She runs about a dozen items through, and then it comes. In a voice crackling with enthusiasm he asks, "Paper or Plastic?"

I can feel myself transmogrified into a Bunny. Not the pink one with the battery strapped to his side who's always goin' somewhere, but the other one. You know, his distant cousin---the one caught in the glare of headlights.

Frozen into inactivity, I ask him to repeat the question. This time in English, I'm tempted to add.

"Paper or Plastic?" Not a trace of irritation in his voice. He's probably used to dimwitted customers.

Full-blown panic. Paper or plastic what? Charge cards? My brain refuses to process the information; I begin to free associate as I stall for time. Paper. What does paper make me think of? Writing checks. Yes! Did I make out the check for the utilities this month? If not, what is the grace period before I find myself dining by candlelight?

Plastic, he asked. As in charge cards. What about my Visa bill? Did I remember to include the minimum payment to cover the new washer? The appliance I had to replace when my daughter surprised me by overloading with a white bathroom rug. I didn't even know it was dirty. Well it wasn't , she said. "Until I accidentally knocked over your bottle of Chocolate Kiss hair color."

I stall for time. My thoughts bounce around like ping pong balls in a blower. I pray for another power outage. Maybe the electricity will go out, and they’ll have to forego their computers and write everything out by hand. It'll be so dark they won’t be able to see their hand in front of their face, let alone locate any grocery bags.

More time with the question and I might even be able to think of an alternative for wood fiber or the synthetic resinous substance called plastic. I'm losing it now but I can't seem to stop myself. Say, what about Buckets or Baskets? I mentally put the words in his mouth. "Will that be Buckets or Baskets, Ma'am?" I have to admit it has a certain ring.

Pretty Woman favors me with a brilliant smile and brings me back to the present. It isn't much of a stretch to understand how she snagged the cold-blooded business tycoon on Hollywood Boulevard.

She hands me the $3.00 in change from the $125.00 total. The boy sneaks a peak at his water resistant watch and shifts his weight to his other foot. Well? his expression says seems to ask, which will it be? I didn’t exactly ask you a question in advanced physics.

My mind unfreezes and my voice follows. "Paper!" I pronounce the first syllable as if I were speaking of all things papal. "Please," I add. I'm so proud of myself that I half expect to hear Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries blare over the loud speaker.

He grabs a brown bag and snaps it open. "I kinda caught you off guard there, didn't I?"

I smile as I pocket the change. Kid, you have no idea.


Groceries, Grocery Shopping, Grocery Store, Grocery Story, Qfc

Meet the author

author avatar Jojay
I am a published and produced playwright. I enjoy writing about anything that strikes my fancy as well as engages my passion for a lifetime of learning.
Also find my
writings at

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
15th Nov 2011 (#)

I like the style and topic.

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