The battle at Self checkout.
The other day, I accidentally made direct eye contact with the guy in front of me at self checkout in the grocery store. I was just kind of zoning out while my kids ran a chaotic 30 foot perimeter of destruction around me. As it turns out my zoning out face was perfectly pointed at this random guy in front of me who was just finishing checking out his groceries.
He turned towards me and just sort of came into focus. There was literally nothing I could do but continue to stare directly into his eyes with my creepy, slack jawed, zoned out face.
We locked gazes and shared a special moment. It was the kind of moment that I might might expect two dogs being neutered at the same time to share. It was shameful and uncomfortable and judgemental. Every fiber of my being told me to look away, or at least close my mouth. I did neither of these things. I stared on with my mouth agape while three young boys circled me like wild savages on a cannibal hunt. There was a point, several seconds beyond what could be considered conceivably, socially acceptable, where it turned into a bizarre sort of battle.
“I will not lose to you, random self checkout guy.” I found myself thinking. My eyes narrowed with the resolve of a hunter on the prowl while my mouth hung limply open, like a broken mail box.
His groceries were checked and I was at the ready, “time to retire your position dude…”
He relented, looked away and wandered off like the beta male I proved him to be.
As for me; I closed my mouth, yelled at my kids, checked my own groceries and left that store a champion.
I know that the day is waiting for me where I will be on the receiving end of that stare but I’ll be ready. It’s a jungle out there and I say simply, “Come at me bro.”
Sometimes, as a dad, it’s the little things that get you by.