helicopters, foodstamps, hotdogs

 I’ve been having this reoccurring dream about my therapist “A” lately. I haven’t been seeing him much. I used to see him every week. Now maybe once a month. But I keep having this same dream where I’m at his office for an appointment. He excuses himself for a moment and then never comes back. Talk about anxiety producing. I’ve had it like 4-5 times now.

And then about a week ago, I had this other dream. For some strange reason we were running up some outdoor stairs and he had my hand.  He was dressed in a black silk suit, a white shirt and a skinny black tie (all things he’d never wear. In fact, I giggle to think of “A” in a suit at all) and then his nerdy Austin Powers glasses (which he does wear). And it looked like some 1960s hotel in “Ocean’s 11”. And there was a helicopter hovering over the top of the building. I didn’t exactly know what was happening but for some reason I was narrating aloud as we were running up the stairs like “And then “A” and witty were running up the stairs to the waiting helicopter, faster and faster, her in her fashionable sling back shoes, him in his sleek Armani suit…”

That really was a dream since I would never wear anything fashionable. Nor would I run towards a hovering helicopter, but rather away in stark terror, like, gah! Why is there a helicopter up on top of this building? I know its going to crash and we’re all gonna die! Help!!!”

See, I’m even angsty in my dreams.

Today was the picnic for the people I used to work with. The crazies. I say that with affection of course, since I’m bipolar and could conceivably fall into that category and do according to certain people.  It was a weird position to be in too, since I’m no longer working there, so I wasn’t exactly one of “them” nor did I quite fall into the crazy category, so I was largely ignored by both groups for the first hour I was there.

Why? Well, my former coworkers were getting the food ready and the crazies were talking amongst themselves and playing croquet. I guess I could have played croquet. I did last year, but it was 95 degrees out and extremely humid today and I didn’t want to get all sweaty too early on. So I just wandered around aimlessly not talking to anyone, except the guys manning the hotdog grill.

Actually the not talking to anyone turned out to be the better of the two, I later realized, because when people started asking me “How’s your job at the yuppie grocery store?” I mean what do I say?  Its been long gone since last November and since I’m a total loser I’ve never gone out again and looked for another job because I’m totally apathetic and can’t stand the thought of getting rejected at a job interview or worse getting hired and then having to deal with all those different work personalities and weird, overbearing bosses and not being able to get off that one elusive Tuesday morning a month when my shrink might, just might, give me a half hour appointment.

Of course, I only said that to the first 1 or 2 people who asked since I quickly realized people don’t actually want to hear the actual truth for goodness sake. I guess it was all the heat and humidity. It makes you cranky and grumpy. Incidently, I drank 5 sodas in a row. A world’s record for me. My former coworker “J” told me that they did nothing to hydrate me, because sodas just have a lot of chemicals in them.

Reason #234 why I’m not currently employed: I can drink sodas endlessly and not be told of their dire effects on my body by a coworker.

Anyways, afterwards as I was driving home, it was wicked hot. I was sweating profusely, singing along with my Bonnie Raitt tape and I had to stop off at this grocery store in the next Village over. Its a very Thurston Howell the III kind of place. Lots of doctors and lawyers live there. Hummers in the parking lot. You know the type of place. Well, I just needed a package of meat for dinner and maybe a carton of chocolate milk since the 5 pieces of cake I ate at the picnic just weren’t enough for me.  

So I set my stuff on the conveyor belt and the girl swipes the 3 items over the swiper thingie and I get out my food stamp card and I whisper to her, “Food stamps”, since you know, somebody might accidentally think I’m a homeless person with fleas or something. I immediately see that Deer in the Headlights look from the girl… Like “foodstamps?” I might have well said “Gersnertzenwistzel”

So she starts hitting key after key on the register. Its obvious she has no clue how to key in a foodstamp sale. None. She asks me if I slid my card through yet. Yes. And then there’s some more increasingly desperate key punching. Oh dear. This is hard. Why doesn’t this lady just have a Visa Gold Card like everyone else!!

I knew she was going to ask for help. I didn’t want her to announce it on the loudspeaker. “I need help with foodstamps on Register 3” So I told her not to say the word “Foodstamps” when she asked for help and I put my finger up to my lips like “Shhhhhhh!” So she didn’t. But the manager came over and HE didn’t know how to do foodstamps either. Oy!! By then all the cashiers were starting to gather around and then the manager said the “F” word right out loud….yup. “We need help with Foodstamps for this lady here. Can you help Marge?”

And then like 29 yuppie ladies almost ruptured their recently botoxed foreheads, by swinging towards us and furrowing their brows at the sight of a woman using foodstamps in THEIR store. “This is a travesty, Jennifer! I know Jennifer! I’m going to call my husband the lawyer, Tad immediately and have her removed!!”

I was totally humiliated by then. The manager suggested that maybe it wasn’t working because there was a scratch on my card. (How did I know it would somehow end up being my fault?) . So I said “This doesn’t happen at “W****” (their rival store). Maybe its because they have their personnel properly trained!”

Yay me!

They never did figure out how to push like one elusive button that says “push here for a food stamp transaction, asshole”, so I just whipped out my checkbook and wrote a frickin’ check for $4.09. Funny, they didn’t ask me for ID…me being “one of…. them” and all.

So I just grabbed my stupid bag with meat and chocolate milk and I could hear the manager running behind me saying, “ms witty, ms witty. Its only my second day as manager.” Oh like I cared. I finally stopped and told him how humiliating it was and he said he’d talk to the girl and I said she was the least of the problem.  I told him I used to work at their rival store and they would never treat a customer like that.  Blah, blah, blah. I did cry when I got out to my car as usual.

When I got home I called and told my mom about it. All she could say was, “Did they give you a bag of free oranges?”


11 Responses to “helicopters, foodstamps, hotdogs”

  1. scotvalkyrie Says:

    Why are some people in the service industry so stupid. And I’ll bet every one of those Marthas behind you had husbands one paycheck away from being homeless, so who are they to put on airs? I swear. Stupid mean people need to stop breathing my air!

  2. betty Says:

    you moved! holy moly! I like the new page

  3. chaosdaily Says:

    not all stores accept food stamps… we don’t. and in 10 years, we only had 2 customers ask.

  4. warcrygirl Says:

    Some people have the sensitivity of a goat. I’m so sorry hon.

  5. Stepfie Says:

    I think a letter of complaint to the store manager (and therefore some free groceries by way of compensation for your humiliation) is certainly in order. We’ll all chip in and write a paragraph each! s x

  6. skibigsky Says:

    I’m with Stepfie. Not that you need my help writing, but I love to vent about stupid people (and really, if you make a big enough noise, they WILL go out of their way to make it up to you.. Asshats.). And don’t feel bad about the unemployed thing. After I lost my job at the University, I was a little ashamed about being unemployed, and not being able to get rehired. Now when people ask me what I do (which EVERYONE does), I tell them that I sponge off the spouse, which always draws blank stares. If they find out I’ve got a Ph.D., they invariably ask me if I ‘miss’ work. Uh. Lesse.. No. I don’t have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn, I don’t have to deal with morons, I don’t have to squeeze in my recreation around stupid work demands, and I don’t have to commute 35 minutes each way. Miss it? Are they crazy? (*ahem.)

  7. onewetleg Says:

    Oh, the embarrassment of food stamps at the posh whole foods store. At least you aren’t trying to pass bad checks there. cough.
    The manager sounded like he was really trying to be nice. It would be a great exercise in “so what” if you could go back there
    Like, I use food stamps, SO WHAT?
    You are just as good looking and probably better in bed than any of those women. Plus you make it on your own with out any help.
    I mean out of bed too.

  8. Holly Says:

    Some people have all the subleness of an angry buffalo. but I wouldn’t feel bad, lots of people have food stamps. Back when I was pregnant with Warren and when he was small I had to go on them. That was back in teh day when they came in bookletts liek some kind of counterfit curancy. So when you paid everyone could tell. I remember the looks people would give me, like they were judging my purchaes. {how dare she buy teh good OJ, she should get the cheap crappy stuff, or look she’s earting crap, stupid poor people}. Fortunately most of the grocery stores were really nice, though it was always a huge hassle. I would hold my head up high and not let them get to you, they are the ones with the problem. You are jsut doing the best they can, and any one of them could very easily end up in the same situation. Trust me, most of the people in those neighborhoods are one missed payment away from loosing it all. they aren’t rich so much as they are in debt upto thier laser shaped eyewbros. you’re better than that.

  9. shadedlily Says:

    It’s great that you stood up for yourself and told them what you thought about their poor training etc. I had to laugh at the image of the 29 yuppie ladies rupturing their Botoxed foreheads from the shock. They must not get out much if they’ve never seen someone use foodstamps before.

  10. crankygirl Says:

    I agree that if you can stomach it you should try again. Maybe page the manager before you get to the register. You are entitled to buy the food you want with your food stamps.

  11. khum find mie Says:

    I accompany my mom to her radiation treatments and on the way back we go to whole foods.
    Yes, she uses her foodstamps but I don’t understand why the rolling eyes or grins when we take it out. And, their machines never seem to work and the cashier needs to input the card info manually.
    We are not buying lobster tails and cavier but oatmeal, soy milk, milk, bread, bacon and juice. Hardly extravagant.
    I don’t question any other shoppers if they are getting any government handouts in the form of tax breaks, tax rebates, tax deductibles, student loan rates etc, so why question my situation?
    And, the prices for these items are actually less than many of the markets in the area. Yes, it’s true, even the soy milk. whole paycheck is untrue.

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