Public Service Announcement: You know, I have a cell phone, and as much as I hate other people with cell phones, I’ll admit that I do some of the things you’re not supposed to do. Every once in a while when I have a burning question, I’ll call Fred while I’m driving down the road. If the phone rings while I’m driving down the road, I’ll answer it. Sometimes I need to call Fred from the grocery store to find out whether I need to pick up more salad, or to ask exactly what kind of ham or turkey he wanted. I’ll admit it – I’m one of those annoying people with cell phones, wandering down the aisle while chatting away about nothing important. But – and this is key, folks – I never lose track of the fact that there are people all around me. If I’m in the grocery store, I don’t wander down the middle of the fucking aisle at a snail’s pace so that no one can get past me. I move my ass over to the side, out of the way, and if I see that someone is hovering as if I’m in front of the very item they need to look at, I move my ass and my cart the fuck out of the way. If I’m driving down the road, talking on the phone, I make a point of getting into the right lane and slowing down so that there’s a lot of space between the front of my vehicle and the ass-end of the vehicle in front of me. And I keep the conversation as short as possible rather than being chatty. It’s just common courtesy, is what it is, and I try to annoy those around me with my cell phone conversations as little as possible. I was at the grocery store yesterday stocking up on the essentials – salad, sliced ham, Skinny Cows – and when it was time to check out, I chose the only lane open. In front of me was an older woman, who had just put all her items on the conveyer belt. As the cashier began ringing up her items, the woman turned to look at the TicTacs�, pondering slowly over which flavors might excite her palate. Just then, we all heard the toodle-toodle-toodle of a cell phone ringing, and the woman grabbed her purse and dug out her phone. (I knew it wasn’t my phone ringing, because mine plays the Flintstones theme song) The woman, chatting casually on her phone (“Oh nothing, I’m in the grocery store”), turned back to peruse the TicTacs. I didn’t pay much attention to what she was talking about (though I’ll admit that I often eavesdrop on people talking on their cell phones, because that’s just how nosy I am) and turned to look at the magazine rack. The grocery store we frequent does this odd thing where they cover the front of certain magazines so that you can only read the title of the magazine. After some research, I’ve determined that they’re not covering the magazines with the half-naked models on the front, but rather they cover any magazine with words like “sex” or “orgasm” on the front (“16 ways to your BEST ORGASM EVER!”). Suffice it to say that Cosmo is usually covered. “Ma’am?” the cashier said to me, politely. “This is all yours, right?” She indicated my pile of groceries. “Yes, that’s mine,” I said, and turned to look at Madam TicTac, who was gesturing animatedly as she chatted, waving a pack of TicTacs in the air. She turned around and put her TicTacs down, in and amongst my groceries. The cashier looked at me and gave me a rueful smile. “Those are hers,” I stage-whispered, and the cashier grinned, rang them up, and added them to the woman’s order. And then we got to stand around while the woman, clearly not the sort who can walk and chew gum at the same time, fumbled with her credit card, NEVER ONCE PAUSING IN HER INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT CONVERSATION. “Is that what she said? But what are you going to do? Uh huh. The red or the green? I think green would be okay, but it’s three months away, so you probably… I mean, if she cares that much, let her do it, you know? I know. Right. Uh huh. Nooooo…. ::giggle:: When, though? I KNOW! She can be so ignorant, sometimes.” (Pot. Kettle. Black. Bitch.) The cashier, the bagger and I stood around waiting for Madam TicTacs to run her credit card through the machine and then sign the credit slip. There was so much eye-rolling going on I’m surprised we didn’t all get dizzy and pass out. And then, leaning on the little counter located next to the credit/ debit machine, the woman loitered there and continued her conversation. “Oh, I know, I couldn’t believe it. But then – what? No, really? She did? When? I asked her and she said NO! Why would she – ? REALLY? But when? Oh, please, she is not. She always says that and everyone jumps to help her out, and then it never happens. I can’t believe she said that, can’t she just give it a rest? I can’t stand it when she does that…” The cashier looked at the woman, and then at me. I looked at the woman and then the cashier. Time passed slowly by as we stood around, unsure of what to do. Clearly the “What to do if the customer won’t get her ass out of the way” section had been missing from the employee handbook. Finally, with a mental shrug, I moved so that I was in the woman’s space. I don’t like getting in peoples’ space, and in fact I loathe it when people get in my space, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And it worked! The woman looked up to see me rightthere, and moved away. Then she saw a grocery cart full of groceries in bags and an impatient bagger standing nearby, and apparently a chord struck in the distant reaches of what passed for her brain. Finally, STILL talking on the phone, she left the store. Checking over her shoulder to be sure she was really gone, the cashier turned and began ringing up my items. “I think that is SO rude!” she said. “Me too!” I said, and we bonded for a moment about the rudeness of SOME PEOPLE. Here’s the thing, folks. You are not – you will NEVER BE – so very important that it’s impossible for you complete a task such as checking out without making those around you wait and wait and wait while you act like an idiot. I understand that you MIGHT think to yourself “My god, I am SO important, I MUST show these peons how VERY important I am, by continuing my INCREDIBLY important conversation. THEY are certainly NOWHERE near as important as I, and thus they do NOT mind waiting for ME!” In actuality, rather than being impressed by how amazingly important you are and how stunningly interesting your conversation is, and thinking to themselves “My GOD, I wish I were that important, TOO!”, what they are thinking to themselves is “What a tool. I wonder if there’s a security camera on me right now? I sure would like to deliver a swift kick to this idiot’s knee and break it. That sure would make me feel better!” “But Robyn!” you are saying to me. “But the phone, it rang! And I cannot let a phone ring and not answer it! What if it’s an EMERGENCY!!!!” Read this, memorize it, tattoo it on your ass if need be, but live by these simple rules, people. If the PHONE rings while you’re standing in line, and you fear that it might be a very important phone call, an EMERGENCY, then you should ANSWER the phone, and when you hear that it is your spouse or your mother or someone else just calling to chat, you should say these very simple words: “Hi, let me call you right back, okay?” And if the caller responds by saying “No, but wait, I just wanted to ask you…”, then say, very clearly “I am STANDING in the CHECKOUT LINE, and I WILL CALL YOU BACK, because only self-important TOOLS stand in the CHECKOUT LINE while talking on their cell phone!”, and then hang up. Or you could say “Hey, hold on just a minute while I check out”, and then put the phone down and check out. I mean, how hard is that? I understand that your world revolves around you (except when it revolves around me), but if every once in a while you thought about how what you do (talking on the phone while trying to check out) affects those of us around you (the cashier, the bagger, the other people who want to check out and get on with their day), the world would probably be a tad less annoying and stressful. Thank you for your time, and have a nice day.

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PS: What did I find in my grocery bag when I got home?
I guess that’s what the cashier was talking about when she asked me if that was mine. You KNOW Madame TicTac got home and was all “Where the HELL are my LIME TicTacs�?! WHERE ARE THEY? That stupid incompetent cashier!”, because she’s just the kinda woman who’d blame someone else for her own dumbassery, don’tchaknow.
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The Bean talks to the birds out at the feeders. The birds do not seem impressed.