This was written for The Red Dress Club, a virtual writer's society.
Concrit is always welcomed and appreciated!
Is there someone who drives you crazy? Someone who really gets under your skin. It doesn't have to be someone you know (although it certainly can be). It could be someone famous. Or even a character in a book.
Now, write a first-person piece – as if YOU are this individual. Write from his or her perspective and include the things that really bother you.
Word limit: 600 My count: 592
I can see what I need right on the other side of the glass. Jolly Green Giant frozen broccoli florets, 24.6 oz. After checking my coupon again, I go to get the produce from its frosty storage.
The freezer doors are much heavier than they used to be, and I struggle to prop the door open while reaching for the top shelf.
A kind young man comes to my rescue.
“Let me get that for you, ma'am.”
“Oh dear, thank you, son. I used to be taller, you know. Or at least I had my George with me to reach the high up shelves–” He smiles at me, but I can sense the irritation behind it. “Oh my! I've kept you so long, and I'm sure you're busy… take care, sweetie.”
Checking my list again, because I just can't seem to keep track of things like I used to, I start towards the cashier station at the front of the store. I scan the open registers for Chet, my favorite clerk. He's so patient with me, and is always willing to run and exchange something for me.
“Excuse me, ma'am.”
I turn around and find myself facing an exasperated mother with a toddler and an infant. Oh dear, I guess I'm blocking traffic… “I'm sorry, dear! Pardon me.” Moving off to one side, I notice Chet at register 2.
“Hi, Chet. How are you today, honey?”
“Oh, hi Mrs. Anderson! I'm good, you?”
“I'm well, thank you. Just a few things today.” Placing my few groceries on the conveyor belt, I place each coupon onto its proper item.
Not wanting to be rude, I recount my items again, just to make sure I don't have more than the accepted Express Lane limit. Twelve. I check the sign overhead to see if they upped the limit. No, it's still ten. Chet is waiting for me, and motions me forward.
The exasperated mom from before steps in line behind me. I notice that she's only buying diapers and a Diet Coke, but Chet has already started scanning my items, so I don't say anything. While he swipes and bags my groceries, I dig in my handbag for my checkbook.
As I place it on the provided platform, I hear toddler behind me “What's wrong, Mommy? What's wrong?”
“Nothing's wrong, kiddo… we're just going to be late.”
“Alrightly, Mrs. Anderson. That'll be $21.68, please!”
“Did you get all of the coupons? I thought it'd be under $20.00” Once again, I wish George was here to help me. He was always so good with money.
“Lemme check…” Chet reads over my printed receipt, quickly comparing the items to my little packet of coupons. “Yeah, looks like we got everything covered!”
“Oh. OK. How much was it again?”
I fill in the amount due on the blank check, before I forget. “And what's today's date?”
“It's the tenth.”
Again, I fill in the date before I forget and have to ask again. I feel bad for the woman behind me; her frustration is palpable. I finish filling out the check and hand it to Chet.
“Don't forget, I need your license number too, Mrs. A!”
Digging in my purse again, I find my wallet and hand over my ID.
I'm done checking out and the bag boy whose name I can never remember helps me out to my car. As we're making our way to the exit, I hear the frustrated mom say to Chet, “Just keep the change!” and she blows past me, out the door into the bright daylight.
Postscript: I wrote this intending to make her out to be that super slow person you always get stuck behind when you're in a hurry; coupons, writes a check, chit chats with the cashier… the more I wrote as her, though, the more I thought about her motivations and what's going on in *her* mind as she moves so slowly and gets in my high-speed self's way. This ended up pretty different from what I'd planned, but I'm OK with that! Concrit is totally welcome, as always!