the time i walked in on a robbery and tried to buy some wine
i really love wine.
the thing you have to know about me is that fundamentally, to my core, the only thing i really want out of life is to never be gauche or rude, ever, ever. every single one of the mistakes that haunt my dreams are times where i blithely said or did something that violated a rule i didn’t know or maybe just forgot.
i live in constant fear of getting sent to the Principal’s Office of Life, where i imagine an old lady with all of the characteristics of a cat i once had (half an ear, a snaggletooth) makes me sit in detention highlighting all the parts of Emily Post that i don’t have memorized.
there's a reason i'm telling you that, i swear. there's this convenience store within a couple blocks of where i live that sells two of my favorite things: junk food and wine. it PURPORTS to be a "24 hour store," but it is NOT a 24-hour store, which i know because i once went there are 4:30 in the morning to buy milk and was APPALLED to find its doors closed.
look, it's fine to be a 20-hour store, or even just a 10-hour store, but don't LIE TO ME about it. because if you LIE TO ME than i'm going to be the milkless, empty-handed jerk at your door at 4:30am on a wednesday.
nobody wants that.
it’s not like i live in a bad part of chicago; like, chicago is chicago but i live in a pretty quiet neighborhood. i mean, i know the neighborhood dogs by name, you know what i’m saying?
my favorite is named maggie she’s a black lab she loves me and if there was a god she would be mine. i mean–what?
my point here is i never think twice about leaving my house at night to pop to the store or go for a walk or go to this all-night diner place that is like, for sure gonna give me some kind of terrible disease but makes surprisingly good milkshakes. and i extra never think twice if i have someone with me! it’s the buddy system! nothing ever goes wrong when you use the buddy system.
literally the only child at that summer camp NOT
destined to die in a terrible water-related accident.
DID WE LEARN NOTHING FROM THE
MANDATORY SCREENING OF BLUE PLANET?
so off we go to purchase our late-night booze and candy–my vice of choice at the time was a 3 Musketeers bar–and the short but brisk walk gave me just enough time to like, really get into the zone in terms of thinking about the food i was going to get. like you know when you’re preparing to buy candy and even thought you’re a grown ass adult who can spend however much you want to on whatever the hell you want to, there’s still that tiny voice in the back of your head that sounds like your mom that’s like you can get ONE of those ten candy bars in your hand?
anyway, we get to the store and when we walk in there’s a guy standing right in front of the door. he’s got his arm extended and he’s holding on to another guy who is also standing in front of the door, and honestly, my first reaction was like, “rude??? this is an entryway and an exit??? move like 7 inches to stand in front of the cheese.”
except don’t stand in front of the cheese. i may want some of that later.
my second reaction was: wow, that dude is covered in blood.
now, you would THINK that at this point, my third reaction would be something along the lines of, “ABORT ABORT ABORT,” but because of that thing where i never want to be rude to anybody, ever, i instead panicked about Blood Guy noticing me staring at him. so i averted my eyes and skittered past them pretending like i hadn’t noticed.
“HAHA, BLOOD? WHAT BLOOD? I DIDN’T SEE ANY BLOOD. I WAS LASER-FOCUSED ON THIS SHIRAZ.”
when we got to the back of the store where the wine was–and i would like to say, in our defense, nobody actually IN the store at ANY point was like, “don’t come in, we’re busy robbing this establishment,” or even, “if you’re going to be here you have to contribute.” they just sort of let us go to the back of the store and loudly debate what kind of wine we wanted.
while montana read off labels and prices, i wandered up the candy aisle, thinking to myself that i was soooo great for letting that guy bleed without staring at him or making him uncomfortable. like, we’ve all bled profusely in convenience stores before, haven’t we? no need to make him feel uncomfortable.
“um,” montana said suddenly.
she pointed. the entire front of the store looked like it had been the victim of the home alone kid. shelves were upended, that weird vat of soup i don’t trust was splashed everywhere, and the very sweet young man who works the register was standing kind of frozen behind the counter, alternating looking at Blood Guy and then back at us.
nobody said anything. it was like all five of us realized at the same time that we had walked in and not noticed what was happening. but like!!! who eXPECTS A ROBBERY? nobody expects a robbery. that’s why they’re effective!!!!
“i don’t…think they’re going to let us buy wine,” said montana.
here’s the thing: how do you get out of a store that’s being robbed but doesn’t…seem interested in robbing you?
what we did was gingerly put the candy and wine back on the shelves and just……excused ourselves.
literally, we just walked back to the door, told everybody goodnight, and left. and like, they let us go? nobody stopped us? i’m pretty sure the sweet boy that mans the register said “have a nice night”?
"so…….wanna go somewhere else?” i asked as a police car pulled up and two cops ran into the store.
“sure,” montana said. “i could go for some pop tarts.”