Sunday, May 6, 2012

Life In The Slow Lane...

There’s this man, let’s call him Edward, because that’s what his name tag says, and he works at my Target, and I think he’s 114 years old.  When I’m in a hurry or the kids are with me and I don’t want to be trapped in the confines of a checkout with them for an eternity, I usually avoid his line like fractions.  And I’m not the only shopper with that mentality either, because sometimes I’ll be three deep in a line and someone will get in line behind me even though poor old Edward is standing there with a wide open checkout.  He’s a likeable guy, but most of us moms can’t be late for carpool line because we were making a Civil War veteran scan our Lunchables.

But when I’m not in a rush and I’m enjoying a nice serene shopping excursion without the kids, I always look for him.  Because one day, when we’ve established a little more of a relationship, I want to ask him why he’s working at Target.  It’s nice to know that even someone who saw the invention of the automobile, the airplane, the computer, and M&Ms appreciates the greatness that is a Super Target.  But he’s so old and frail and I hate to think about him being on his feet for so many hours.  And I worry that he might fall in with the wrong crowd, like the thugs that round up the carts in the parking lot.  (I’m stereotyping because of their big diamond earrings and baggy pants belted around their thighs, but it’s safe to say they aren’t rap stars or professional ball players, because they wouldn’t have to return carts at Target.)

I don’t think I’m exaggerating Edward’s age.  There are ninety year olds in my church that could definitely pass for his children.  Poor excuses for children if they’re making him work at Target to afford his prescriptions!  Not that I know that’s why he’s working there.  Maybe he just got out of prison himself and the state secured this grocery store job for him like they did Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption.  He potentially could’ve been sentenced to life and when he passed 110, they were like, “Okay, you win.”

I doubt that though.  He’s too nice.  And, for the record, incredibly good at his job.  He’s slow, but methodical about bagging the groceries and then telling me what’s in each one as he sets it on the counter for me, “I slid the Rice A Roni down in here by the Honey Nut Cheerios.”

He can barely lift the bags sometimes and I feel awful even letting him try, because he has bruised toothpicks for arms, but he’s old school where it’s a man’s duty to lift things for women.  So, I let him heft the milk jug and pray that it’s not the last thing he ever does.

It makes me sad to think that he’s most certainly a widower.  Bachelors don’t tend to live past 100.  And his old poker buddies have probably been buried for decades.  Again making him vulnerable for being jumped into that Cart Returner gang.

For whatever reason, I just really want to know why he’s working.  To cure boredom or bankruptcy?  Given his age, I need to get to the bottom of it soon.  I’m almost positive his answer will be one of those two things, but what if it’s something crazy like, “I had to get a second job because my girlfriend’s pregnant.”  Or, “I’m in deep with the Russian mafia and if I don’t come up with ten grand, they’re gonna break my legs.”  In that case, I’d have to point out that a strong wind could break his legs and maybe he should just stay home and rest.

*I know another Edward that’s super old, but he’s a vampire so he held up a lot better.Photobucket


  1. LOL! I was about to mention Edward Cullen, but you beat me to the punch at the end. Well played. I have a favorite Target worker, but she's a woman and probably closer to 55. I probably go to a different "usual" Target than you, too. Wake Forest Super Target VS. TTC Super Target! The Showdown! ...Hmm. I probably shouldn't comment on your blog after eating too many cookies.

  2. Aww! I know who you're talking about! He is sweet. =) I actually wondered some of those things too as he checked out our purchases.