Yesterday, I went to the grocery store. There are three Kroger stores within about three miles from my home, but like most people, I tend to go to the same one all the time. This Kroger has those U-Scan lanes so customers can scan and bag their own groceries if they want. If I can, I always use the U-Scan lanes. I think as long as you don’t get behind someone who doesn’t know how to scan, then it’s quicker. Also, I don’t really like to interact with the checkers. I guess that makes me rude, but frankly, it bugs me sometimes when they insist on being chatty. Actually, I believe it to be related to OCD. One of my “issues” is talking to people I don’t know — especially over the phone. Sometimes, it’s simply that I find the chit-chat annoying; a checker at that same Kroger asked me if I had gone to church that day (it was Sunday). That bothered me on so many levels, I didn’t know where to start, but I forced a smile and said “no.” U-Scan lanes mean I’m in, out, and back home without having to interact with anyone if I don’t want to.
At this Kroger, the same man is always “manning” the U-Scan lanes. If you don’t know what this means, basically it means he stands there in case customers have problems with checking out. I go to the grocery store at least every other day, and he is always there.
Yesterday, as I checked out my groceries, lost in my own world, I didn’t notice the flurry activity around the U-Scan Man until I had bagged my groceries and was headed out the door. He was sitting on a bench, surrounded by EMT’s and had oxygen tubing in his nose. There were two ambulances parked outside.
I kept walking, because I didn’t want to stare or make him feel weird. I come in so often, he must recognize me in much the same way as I recognize him. I kept walking, and I almost called Steve. Nah, I told myself, you can tell Steve when you get home. I thought of U-Scan Man several times. Just a little while ago, I thought about him again: please God, I hope he’s OK.
It’s odd, isn’t it? I use the U-Scan lane so I don’t have to interact with anyone, and I wind up being attached to the consistent presence of the U-Scan Man enough to pray for his health. I guess I was interacting a little more than I thought.