When Old Lives Matter

By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.

I did a giant shopping this week at one of the area’s largest grocery stores. Took me hours to shop because I couldn’t find things quickly, and the labels in Lithuanian are, at best, challenging. Asked for lots of help and wandered all over like a lost soul. After 3 hours, I withdrew. Next time, I am hiring some bright Elvish woman to help me shop.
I stood outside waiting for my Bolt cab to fetch me, my backpack and three giant-sized recyclable bags brimming with groceries from the curb.
That’s when I spotted this old guy—maybe 80’s—pushing a string of carts toward the place I was standing. I stood between two of the narrowest poles holding up the store’s huge canopy—mind you, it was not at the spot where carts are kept. The space between these two poles was about what you’d find between desks in a classroom. I thought it was out of the way of foot traffic. There were plenty of wider places for him to go, and all my stuff was on the ground.
Suddenly the fellow picks up steam and aims right for me! I stoop and grab my bags to toss them and me out of the way, but didn’t quite make it before-WHAM!- he runs over part of my third bag.
Yes, I did reactively yell, “Hey! (followed by a verbal New York City greeting).” Then I started laughing.
Instantly, I saw it. The old coot was stuck at his age working as a “lot boy” fetching carts and picking up trash, he’s probably paid wages next to nothing so he can live in a crappy place and be lucky to make enough to eat. He is likely an old Russian or German, reliving out an old war moment for revenge! Thinking “Ha-Ha, I got you in my sights now you lousy American with your rich shopping and your NYC cap on! I got you now!!!!” And he took the shot, eyes gleaming, as fast as his imaginary spitfire could fly him!
I laughed, and felt pity at same time.
That likely will be me some day, working a parking lot for dropped coins.
There’s lots of people I might ponder running over with a shopping cart if I was him, given half the chance! Ha!
This was the poor little fellow’s imaginary reckoning with a tough life!😂🤣🤪😳😝
Meanwhile, remembering him gave me another chuckle at breakfast. Old lives matter. 😎

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