Another Moment In the Grocery Store

I’m standing in line at the checkstand marked “Albion,” because Harvest Market thinks that it is cute to name the lanes after local towns, rather than numbering them. Behind me is a wheelchair user, and I note that the conveyor belt for groceries is too high to reach, so I ask him if he’d like a hand unloading his handbasket. “Nah,” he says, “I just kind of shove the basket up there and let the checker sort it out. But thanks.” “Fair enough,” I say, and we both turn to watch the checker trying to remember the produce code for cherimoyas.

Another man gets into line behind us.

“Hey,” he says, leaning down to the wheelchair user. “You should check out this book. I bet you could walk again!”

The book is some sort of natural healing volume, thick with postits, softback covers curling up at the edges. It is obviously very well-worn and thoroughly thumbed through, the cut edges of the pages are stained and dark and I suspect that they probably feel velvety to the touch. The photograph of a smiling woman with dark hair dominates the cover. She appears to be surrounded by fruit, surrounded in a halo of disembodied vegetables.

“I ate carrots and apples for two months and cured my cancer,” the man says.

“Uhm, ok,” says the wheelchair user. “No thanks.”

The man turns to me.

“You could cure your cancer with this book,” he announces. Now I have cancer? I think.

The checker rescues me, perfect timing, by announcing my total. We are caught up in the minutia of the transaction, “debit please” and “no cash back” while the man with the book corners the person behind me in line. You’re kind of a captive audience, waiting in line at the grocery store, and I feel deeply uncomfortable but too shy to say anything. I bag my groceries and flee, dodging the epic displays of strongly scented flowers positioned by the door to guilt trip people in relationships into buying them.

In the parking lot, returning my cart to the cart corral, I see the man with the book again.

“Seriously,” he says, “you HAVE to read this book!”

“No, thank you,” I say, trying to dodge around him to get back to my car. I can see its cheery orange bulk, so secure, yet so far away.

“Well, you should at least take a CD,” he says, pulling a fistful of CDs out of the pocket of his jacket.

“I’m really not interested,” I say, feeling for the security of my key.

“Well, FINE,” he says, and trots off across the parking lot to find his next victim.

About s.e. smith

s.e. smith is a recalcitrant, grumpy person with disabilities who enjoys riling people up, talking about language, tearing apart poor science reporting, and chasing cats around the house with squeaky mice in hand. Ou personal website can be found at this ain't livin'.

7 thoughts on “Another Moment In the Grocery Store

  1. That is so creepy!

    (I just read about Amanda’s “fun” at the ER with “imaginary glass” so this is just… wow, sputtering around what is wrong with people?)

    Did his momma teach him any manners?

    You should be grateful – he saved you lots of money and time by diagnosing your cancer! /silly (He probably meant this will prevent cancer.)

  2. Ahh; cure evangelists. They are convinced that every medical problem on earth can be resolved by whatever cured their problem. No, Virginia, eating more leafy greens and avoiding gluten will not “absolve” this child of her chromosomal anomaly. Ugh!

  3. Yes, cure evangelists 🙁

    My ‘favourite’ is the time someone was convinced eating lots of meat would cure me of a whole raft of things, including protease deficiency. That was years ago, and it still makes me boggle at how the person was ignoring what I was telling them in favour of their pet theory. Fortunately, unlike the person in the original post, they weren’t being creepily inappropriate, just self-absorbed.

  4. At one point my MIL was evangelizing sleeping on magnets, and my SIL told me I should “Eat Right for My (Blood) Type” (a book out many years ago). GAH!! As if doing THAT would fix my NON-food related conditions.

  5. I once got “this will make you lose weight”, at which time I pulled the Good Fattie card and said, “Actually, my weight is due to having cancer.” I knew I shouldn’t have done that, because it’s just encouraging discrimination, and I received my reward for playing Good Fattie when the woman promptly said, “Oh, it will cure cancer, too!” *sigh*

  6. Recently a friend told us that “not eating meat” would cure my partner’s aunt’s cancer. My partner’s aunt is a vegetarian, and has been for 40 years. Do people really think that no vegetarians get sick? For that matter, how on EARTH could restricting your diet to two foods (like carrots and apples) be healthy? Yeah those things are good for most people, but almost nothing is good if it’s ALL you eat.


  7. Now Creepy is that ‘Natural Cures’ scam artist, but at least he’s limited to late night (sadly when I do most of my TV viewing) and can’t follow you around the parking lot like some CSI stalker.

    I have ‘helpful’ friends telling me their latest (often expensive to set up and/or follow) diets to which I kindly inform them (the first time anyhow) that I am on Social Security Disabiltiy and can’t afford $5 meals (and those are midrange costs) which at 3 times a day times 30 days is $450 a month, HALF my SSD, almost my monthly RENT.
    They quickly become ‘ex’ friends if they insist on continuing to ‘help’ me out that way, how quickly depends on how honestly I think they hold my health and friendship to heart.

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