As she walked into the supermarket, Anuva had a tough choice ahead of her. It was a question that seemed to have daunted her since forever. So she gathered every shred of focus and attention that she could, and hoped her decision was for the best.
Poppables or Pringles?
150 calories in a serving size of 30 potato pops or 15 potato crisps?
What if she made the wrong choice?
Surely it deserved more than 5 minutes of contemplation!
Yes, and no.
If she contemplated long enough, she wouldn’t pick either, because that would be the healthiest choice.
If she didn’t contemplate at all, she would end up picking at random, and both would be equally unhealthy and pricey. At least she could save 5 minutes of her life. Or she could just pick both. 2$? Big deal!
The problem was and is, when the extent of contemplation was somewhere in between.
And in between was … neither yes nor no.
It was almost the end of his shift as a part time store manager at the local supermarket. Jay walked across the snacks aisle and found a girl keenly inspecting two different packets of snacks. He was amused. This girl had been staring at a rack of crisps for what felt like eternity. Picked one packet up. Kept the other one back. Repeat.
Seriously? So much contemplation over crisps?
Something was definitely up with this girl, and Jay had two choices; on any other day, he wouldn’t have bothered. But he had had a long day and he really needed to shut the store down for the day. This girl was the last remaining customer.
“Hi, can I help you?”
“Umm no, I’m okay”, Anuva muttered with utmost uncertainty.
“I apologise ma’am, but I need to shut store soon.”
“Oh, okay, can I just checkout with this one item?”, she held out a box of Pringles that she had picked out for the nth time just a few seconds ago.
“I’m sorry, all counters are closed, though I can make an exception if you have cash on you.”
“Oh, crap! You know, I always think I need to have cash, but forget to take a cash back while checking out.”
“I… Wasn’t really looking for an explanation but I’ll take that as a no.”
“I’m sorry, I’m having a bad day.”
“Yeah, at this point, I’m going to have to concur with you and say the same about my day.”
“Sorry”, Anuva mumbled. Being thrown out of a supermarket was a new achievement for her. So much for trainwrecking.
Trainwrecking was what Anuva called her life, humorously, when even the smallest of things seemed to go wrong. It would usually be a series of mishaps, that, in the long run, would seem very trivial, but in the moment, alluded to the whole world crashing down on her. And this, was one such day.
“You don’t need to keep apologizing, you know!”, said the guy from the store. Jay his name tag read.
“Okay. So what rhymes with Jay and comes right after it?”, Anuva said, humorously.
“K?”, Jay rolled his eyes.
“Yup. K! JK!”
“This was definitely funnier than your Deal or No deal episode from a few minutes ago”.
“Are store managers allowed to be this sarcastic?”
“Only when customers like you are indecisive in the dead of the night at closing time, and the manager hasn’t slept for 20 hours.”
“Wow, what’s going on with you?”
“Life”, Jay shrugged.
“Well, that explains it all!”, Anuva stared at Jay, animated.
“Yeah, so let’s close this shop down for now so we can get on with … life.”
“Fair enough… So where do you stay?”
“What’s up with you, ma’am? Breakup? School trouble? Can’t find the right shoe to match your top?”
“Don’t do breakups, I’m a straight As student and I just have one pair of shoes that goes with everything I wear”.
“So what was with Sophie’s Choice back there?”
“Of course!”, Jay sighed.
“You won’t get it.”
“No, actually I do. I’m just hoping you get it too, soon enough, before you manage to keep someone else from getting a night of peaceful sleep”.
“What’s your problem again?”
Being stuck at his place of work was the last thing Jay wanted to do. He had been up all of the previous night, studying for an interview that was to happen that day. It had got cancelled and pushed back on the last minute because (something that makes no difference to this narrative) came up.
“So, I think we’re done here. Have a good night!”
“No wait, you didn’t even ask me my name?”
“I guess that slipped my mind somehow.”
“Okay Anuva. Good night!”
“I’ll see you again tomorrow! I’m coming back for the Poppables.”
Of course she would.