It seemed a simple enough plan to execute.
Grab a bite to eat, then go to Home Depot for three things: A humidifier, contractor bags, and three small plants for a trio of empty pots.
First we drove to Spin! and parked in the back lot. We noticed the dearth of cars but didn’t think about it. Jenny walked to the back door ahead of me and pulled it outward. It did not give. We stood, puzzled, then got back in the car and drove around to the front, where we saw a dark restaurant and signs on the door. We continued down Main, ruminating outloud, then cut over to Broadway. There’s got to be a place on Broadway, I insisted. What about that new Mediterranean place across from my office building; there’s that, isn’t there. Jenny smiled. Maybe, she acknowledged. But if there is, I don’t know about it.
And: no. A row of shuttered storefronts and 3 Hookah bars later, Jenny turned right on Armour Road and said, New plan. Home Depot first, then food. We laughed and continued our interrupted conversation all the way to the huge parking lot at the Home Depot. Let’s Do This!
Once inside, Jenny asked about humidifiers and was told that we could find them in aisle 11. First we snagged four sweet little succulents and the trash bags, then we headed to aisle 11. We found three humidifiers there: All the whole house kind. Jenny called out to a clerk, Is this where we find humidifiers, you know, like the portable ones you plug in? The clerk stood and looked at Jenny. Humidifiers? he asked. I don’t know, maybe.
Five minutes later, we determined that Home Depot does not sell portable humidifiers and headed to the registers. Jenny picked a Self Serve aisle and tried to scan the bar codes on the plants without success. Excuse me! she said, in her lilting tone, from under her gorgeous knit hat, standing tall and sassy. Can you help us ring these? She addressed her comments to two clerks standing at the nearby customer service kiosk. She showed the little plants to them and a debate between the clerks ensued, as to how “three for $10” should be entered if you are buying four. I still hadn’t said anything since our unsuccessful dialogue with the humidifier guy. I let Jenny handle it; she seemed to be doing fine.
The shorter of the two clerks took charge of the plants with an air of authority, but she couldn’t get the computer to recognize our purchase. After a few minutes she called a manager, who came, by and by, and pushed a few numbers into the screen. Then the sales clerk scanned our purchases and said, Now go over there and pay for this stuff, gesturing back at Self Serve. Mystified, I went over; discovered that whatever she had done caused the transaction to appear at Self Serve; and swiped my debit card.
Nothing happened. Jenny joined me, leaving the two sales clerks to scrutinize a chopped up piece of wall board that their computer said was three items and the customer insisted was one. Jenny studied the Self Serve screen, rapidly touched a sequence of prompts, and away we went.
As we exited the Home Depot, I turned to Jenny and said, There was a time when I would have been unable to tolerate that type of transaction; I would have yelled at everyone and my son would have stood helpless until he couldn’t take it anymore, and then would have said ‘Mom, let’s just go,’.
Jenny smiled. We stopped outside the door, in the chilly night, and looked at each other. Then Jenny said, I think we were the first people to buy succulents in the entire history of Home Depot.
We burst out laughing. Then we went to Charlie Hooper’s, ate dinner, and came back to my house, immensely pleased with how lovely our evening had been.