The amusing thing about knowing my bagger at the grocery store pretty well is that I don't just get a smile and a mumbled "haveaniceday," I get some sense of how Paul is doing. He's a person, not a customer service policy. Today he was a person who had recently come in from the outdoor job, and he was not pleased. "I don't think they should put you out there," I said, and he grinned. "You know how I stand it? See that little shop there, just inside the door? They sell whiskey." He kept bagging my groceries. "You know what else I want to bring with tomorrow? A crowbar. People kept telling me to put stuff in the trunk, and then the trunk was locked, and they'd come out and look at it. Put the car in neutral! It's not going to unlock until you put it in neutral, no matter how many times you press the little button! And now here you are outside the car without your keys, with the car running, so you can't press the button again now that you've parked the thing! Idiots, I'm telling you. You'd never do that to me. Tomorrow, the crowbar." He checked over my eggs for cracks. I do that anyway, but Paul just wants to make sure. ("If it was most folks," he told me one day when I told him he didn't have to, "they'd get home and say, 'that damn Byerly's, they sold me cracked eggs.' But it's you, so you'd say, 'that damn Paul, he didn't even look.' So I look.") As he was putting a rubber band on the egg carton, he said, "I was putting groceries in this woman's backseat, and she says to me, 'ohhh, I think it's getting warmer today.' I wanted to tell her, lady, go get your meds checked. I'm the one out in it, and I can tell you, it is not any warmer!" Shirl, my backup cashier, thought this was a step too far: "Paul," she said warningly, but when I grinned, she grinned back. I think she just doesn't want him to talk like that to the wrong person and get in trouble.
I'm not the one cooking tonight. I'm the one curling up on the couch with a book tonight. The division of labor doesn't always go like that, but tonight I'm grateful it does. I'm feeling sort of curled up and tired. I'm going to aim at a restful night and a productive day tomorrow. It seems like a plan, and if I miss and have a productive night and a restful day tomorrow, the world won't come to an end.