Hump Day: Please forgive our absent-minded blunders in life

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I was at the grocery store earlier this week when I noticed a man looking for something. It turns out that he was looking for his cart.

No, he didn’t forget where it was. Actually, while he had his back turned, a couple of ladies out shopping just took his cart and left with it after they themselves took a few minutes to check out some of the sales in the meat department.

There was nothing malicious in the incident. He didn’t leave his wallet or an expensive coat in the cart or anything else of value other than unpaid groceries. The two ladies just absent-mindedly grabbed his cart and went on their merry way. Of course, when he turned around, he figured out what happened and went looking for them.

His search came to an end right next to me as he caught up to the two and told them that they’d taken his cart by mistake instead of theirs. To say the least, they were mortified. A quick look in the cart would have given them a hint it wasn’t theirs, but they just grabbed it and went. Everyone had a good laugh about it, although I could tell they were sincerely embarrassed by their error.

They then went on the walk of shame back to their own cart which was actually quite far away. These two were obviously too busy talking to even realize their cart was full of someone else’s groceries. I can see how being distracted would make that happen.

I, however, have no excuse for having done the same thing in the past when I was in the grocery store by myself and quite undistracted. I grabbed someone else’s cart and took off, although you’d think I would have noticed the bargainsized 64-pack of tampons that clearly didn’t belong to me.

Not to say that men can’t buy tampons, of course. I’ve seen fellow brethren standing in front of shelves stocked with tampons before. They’re practically weeping and wondering how their lives ever came to this point as they ask on their cell phone, “Dear, do you want the ones in the purple box with the dandelions or the one showing the supermodel riding the horse? Or what about the one of the supermodel who’s climbing a mountain while wearing tight white shorts?”

This is usually followed by indecipherable screaming on the end of the line from the wife who’s clearly in need of replenishment right then and there. I usually leave when the guy starts sobbing. I hate seeing grown men cry.

It’s funny how we do things completely absent-mindedly sometimes – or try to do something good and end up doing something terrible by mistake. Thank goodness for understanding people.

Case in point, some friends of mine – a married couple – were out walking last week when they came upon their neighbour’s dog, Java, wandering around someone else’s yard. The dog was old and going blind, according to the wife’s Facebook post that told the story.

The husband got their own dog’s leash and attached it to Java’s collar and walked the poor old girl home. She followed dutifully, probably quite relieved that someone kind and gentle had found her and was returning her to familiar territory.

When he got there – expecting to find a grateful owner happy to have a nice neighbour return their old dog – he found Java sitting in the driveway. He then looked down at the dog on the leash and saw that it looked just like Java, but it wasn’t her. He’d inadvertently stolen a Java lookalike from a neighbour’s yard in broad daylight.

No word on if they actually got into trouble, but my bet is that the Java imposter was likely returned home quickly and without incident. Rumour has it that my friend whispered into the dog’s ear, “One word out of you, buster, and you won’t see a table scrap at Thanksgiving until the cows come home. And in case you haven’t noticed, we live in a big city and there are no cows living around here.”

Dumb mistakes are a part of life. Like you have probably done yourselves, I’ve returned to the house to see if the stove is on while thinking I’m being ridiculously obsessive compulsive – only to find the burner shining a brighter red than Rudoph’s nose and throwing enough heat to melt the polar ice caps.

Of course, I’ve also gone to bed wondering if I locked the doors and thinking that I’m being silly and nitpicky, only to get up in the morning to find the doors unlocked and a family of bears eating porridge at the table while a yawning girl with blonde curly hair peeks through the kitchen window watching them and smacking her lips out of hunger.

We slept with the doors unlocked every night when I was a kid. No one ever broke in. Nothing bad ever happened. I’m not sure where I got the “doors must be locked” obsession from. Anyway, who needs to lock the door when you have a dog whose head explodes every time someone rings the doorbell or walks by the house?

One day, I’m just going to throw caution to the wind as I hand over unlost dogs to their wrongful owners, leave stoves on and sleep with the doors wide open. If you see me sitting in my front yard while brandishing a loaded rifle and screaming, “Get off my lawn!” to invisible intruders, you’ll know that the stress was just a bit too much to take.

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