Merry Christmas, and get the hell out of my way!

One of the benefits of unemployment is that I can take care of my errands anytime. I can pick a time when everyone is at work and the stores are quiet. Or I can pick a time like, say, two days before Christmas, when everybody in Jackson Heights is out shopping.

I spent much of today running around doing last-minute stuff for the holidays. And predictably everyone else in my neighborhood did too, with their kids, doped up on Christmas candy and excited to be on break. The stores were packed.

The Rite Aid on 82nd Street, a main shopping street, was particularly bad, even for them. On a good day the lines in the store are long, the checkers slow and there’s stuff strewn about, as if a tornado touched down. I just needed some shampoo and some band-aids. As I turned into the first aid aisle, a hunched-over old lady pushed me and cursed me out in Spanish. Who knows what I did? Maybe I cut her off or brushed her, though I didn’t feel it if I did. Or maybe she was just having a bad day. But she was angry and ready to throw down.

So I took her head and slammed it into a display of canned goods. Then I beat her with her own cane. That will teach her to mess with me! Actually, I held out my arms as if to say, “what was that for?” I was more stunned than anything else. Nobody expects an old lady to intentionally push them and then use words like that, even if you can’t understand them. She ranted for a few more seconds and then hobbled away.

Only when I was perusing the shelves for the right type of band-aids did I remember the translation for “Merry Christmas” (“Feliz Navidad”) – the perfect response. But it was too late then. Isn’t that how it always happens? I made my purchase and went on to the next store.

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