I witnessed a beautiful young girl drop her groceries today, only seconds after purchasing them. She was foolishly holding her worthless paper bags, which she had just paid extra for, by the worthless paper handles, which were held on by nothing more than a couple worthless tacks of glue. But the glue was not the weak link. Being made of 100% recycled content, the handles themselves were of such poor structural consistency that they simply snapped under the weight of probably no more than ten pounds. She was so happy to have just purchased these groceries, she was probably already envisioning where each item would soon live, which ones would be set aside for dinner that night, and which ones she would eat on the way home.
I was behind this beautiful young girl in the grocery line, and even thought about asking her out in ten years, once I got well again. What I mean is that she would need to age ten years. She needed to be broken before I could talk to her, and I needed to be repaired.
I like to think that I am a relatively conscientious shopper. I brought my own reusable bag, which I purchased for slightly more than she paid for her worthless paper bags. I watched her leave the check-stand, thinking that I would probably never see her again, even though a lot can happen in ten years, and in the brief time that it took for me to turn to the checker and say “Hello, fuckboots,” that poor (now slightly poorer), beautiful young girl had taken those few fateful steps, trusting in the consistency of those recycled paper handles, before they snapped.
“Paper bags are shit nowadays,” was all I could say to this beautiful stranger as I stopped to possibly help her pick up her groceries. I stood there dumbly for a minute. There were two things holding me back from actually stooping over to help. First, I had just written a story about an old woman who dropped all her groceries in a parking lot, and in the story the main protagonist tries not to look up her skirt the entire time that he’s helping her and then in the end his grandmother dies. Second was the fact that Fuckboots, who had just sold her these “environmentally-friendly” paper bags,was already stooped over helping her, both of them filled with stupid, incomprehensible guilt, and she had already called over a co-worker to replace all the broken stuff, and there was really nothing for me to do. So I stood there like a monolith with my reusable bag, then I walked away, knowing that this was really the only way for people to learn these hard lessons. You simply can’t trust paper bags anymore.