Posts Tagged 'supermarkets'


Drove the Help of Ojai bus yesterday.  Not very busy.  Oak Tree House was still shuttered for the holidays so my passenger list was short.  I usually take a book anticipating a block of spare time but hardly ever crack it open.   Generally find something else to do like nudgey Jan, eat a few bites of sandwich and visit Java and Joe for a big cup of dark roast coffee.

I like Java and Joe.  I avoid the Ojai Coffee Roasting Company.  The same faces are always behind the counter at Java and Joe.  Even though they aren’t the most engaging folks they know what they’re doing and do it efficiently.  When we first moved to Ojai my friend Steve asked me if I had been to the Star Wars Cafe.  I scratched my head and said I hadn’t heard of it.  Steve laughed “It’s the Ojai Coffee Roasting Company.”  You can probably figure out the connection.

On occasion I do stumble into the Roasting Company.  The faces behind the counter seem to change with the seasons.  The service is usually the same.  Takes awhile for them to recognize your existence.  Once you are blessed with their attention, what generally follows are a few quizzical looks and a half-hearted attempt to meet my needs.  Maybe it’s because I’m not a regular.  But I digress.

I  had about twenty minutes of spare time mid-morning.  Needed some stamps for a bunch of postcards that Sweetie and I prepared for our upcoming photo show at City Hall.   We don’t stock up on twenty-seven cent stamps so I figured I’d dash into the post office and get a bunch.   Parked the bus about half a block from the post office and hustled over.  There are two sets of doors at our post office.  The first set opens to the street.  The second set of doors, the ones the postal clerks hide behind, gives way to the inner sanctum where you generally queue up with half a dozen other people.

Not today.  The line inside the doors was backed up and flattened against them.  No more room at the inn.  It’s sort of a self-limiting queue.  After all, you’re not going to open the second set of doors and expose everyone to winter’s icy blasts.  The last woman in line behind the protective glass turned to me and shrugged her shoulders.  I left.  Strike one.

My bus shift ended after I dropped off the lunch bunch.  A really nice bunch.  Bob waits for the bus on a chair in his driveway.  Then hustles his walker down to the lift.  Oma has a cane and usually pinches my cheek.  Dottie has a walker and always says how wonderful we drivers are.  And Ellen at 90 has a cane, sort of hops up the bus steps and proceeds to brighten my day.  Bless ’em all.

My usual routine at shift’s end is to call Sweetie and ask if she needs anything before I take the fifteen minute trip up the hill.  “I could probably use some color-safe bleach.  No need to go out of your way.  It can wait.”  Sure.

Starr Market is only a block away from Little House.  I figured ten minutes tops including browsing.  Let’s see…as long I’m here, why not get some bananas.  They were all bright green.  Just two, they’ll be OK tomorrow or the next day.  No bananas with cereal today but we can handle it.  And why not some mushrooms.  $3.99 for an itty bitty container.  Oh well, nothing’s too good for us.  On to the bleach.  Let’s see.  Plain bleach, lemon scented bleach, lime fresh bleach…no color-safe bleach.  OK, too bad Starr.  Keep your green bananas and your high-roller mushrooms.  On to Vons.

Can’t fool me twice in one day.  First, look for the bleach.  If they pass that test, move to Phase 2.  Plain bleach, lemon scented bleach, lime fresh bleach, even high-intensity-turn-everything-bright-white bleach.   Aha, in the corner away from prying eyes…color-safe bleach…organic of course (what makes bleach inorganic?)   And three times the price of  the other bleach.   Nothing’s too good for us.  On to the bananas.  Almost over-ripe.  Two’s enough.  Mushrooms reasonably priced.  That’ll teach you, Starr.

On to the check-out stand.  Let’s see, only four items.  Express Checkout for me.  But wait, there’s a woman in front of me with a small child.  She’s got her stuff laid out on the conveyor belt.  But what’s this.  She forgot one item.  “Would it be OK if I run real quick and get it?”  Sure.  I scan the other check-out stands.  There’s one that looks promising.  I’ll wheel the cart over there.  But wait, there’s a woman with enough cereal boxes to end the famine in Ethiopia…and about fifty cans of cat food to boot.  No good.  Back to Express Check-out.

A Vons supervisor blocks my path like she was Dick Butkus.  “Get thee to check-out stand six…no waiting.”  I turn and sheepishly begin the trek to six.  There are three people ahead of me, each loaded down with duplicate Ethiopian famine ending carts.  Don’t listen to her, Fred.  Get back to Express Checkout.  Too late, the Express line stretches to Ethiopia…no waiting for them.

My turn at Stand Six finally comes.  “And how are you today, Mr. Rothenberg?”



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