I went to Target with my wife tonight.
Before you shake your head you must know – she asked! That’s my excuse. That’s all I got. She asked.
It’s akin to when, once a year, I pass a KFC and the kids ask, “Can we get KFC tonight?” For some reason, at that exact moment the reasonable thing to do is say, “Sure!” Then after a total of two bites you think, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
So on this otherwise fine summer evening I said “Sure!” to Gina’s suggestion of going to Target. (And PLEASE, when you read the word Target, do not put that cute little French accent on the end of it, “Tar-zhay”… It’s not cute and it’s not French.) Anyway, just as with the Colonel’s place, two aisles in I knew I’d made a huge mistake.
On the way into the store I actually made Gina laugh when I asked what I thought was a reasonable question. “Do we need a cart,” I asked.
“At least one…” she answered.
I pushed the cart a respectable distance behind her as she walked each aisle. (I remembered as a kid pushing the cart with my mother and running over her heels. I still have ringing in one ear from the smacks on the head!) Gina was a seasoned pro. There is a saying in sports: “See the whole field…” Or “See the whole court…” This is a coach’s tip to players so that they can begin to anticipate what will happen in the next few moments of the game.
Gina was a player who saw the whole aisle. She knew right where the discounts would be. She could anticipate the moves of not only the other shoppers but also the employees as they restocked the shelves. There was a moment few who were there will ever forget. Thinking she was headed down the greeting card aisle Gina hesitated for just a second then made a smooth left turn into personal hygiene. There, almost without changing speed, in one move she reached and dropped her prey into the cart: the 8 pack of Lever 200o, on sale for 20% off. I have chills just thinking about it now.
Eventually the cart became so full we looked like a retail version of the Joads from Grapes of Wrath. I had no idea what was really in there; I just knew I was beginning to lose my breath while pushing it.
The real fun came when we went to check out. Gina had “Just one more thing” to get so I began unloading the
truck sorry, cart. As I did I made a startling realization. We had to go to Target tonight because it turns out we needed… everything!
Shaving cream, paper plates, Tiger’s jerseys, black beans, a new bra (not for me), a game of Risk, wiper blades for the car, tampons (again, not for me!), canned tuna, a 4-pack of sunscreen, Pepperidge Farms cookies (okay, that one’s for me)… $442.79 worth of (here’s the real French word) crapola!
Needless to say I was exhausted by the time I reached the car. Not from hauling the stuff – Gina did most of the heavy lifting. No, I was worn out by the notion of it all. How could we need all of that stuff? How could she know that we need all of that stuff? How could one cart hold all of that stuff?
I’ve learned my lesson. I now know exactly what to say the next time Gina asks me if I want to go to Target.
“I can’t dear. I promised the kids I’d take them to KFC!”