I have previously posted about some of the oddities that I have encountered. A friend suggested, perhaps in jest, that my noticing of these things was due to me being better than others. To lay to rest the spectre that I am not absurd I present a short tale of about purchasing a bag of cat litter from the supermarket.
Act 1 – Irritation
Thinking ahead I left the litter until last. So bearing the bag of cat litter by its robust but stiff edged handle in one hand and my basket of sundries in the other I headed for the self-service tills. Close to the beginning of the row of self-checkouts but facing away from them were two people in conversation; one with a half-full basket, the other with an empty trolley.
A checkout opened up as I approached and they continued their conversation so I, with fingers feeling the weight and a desire to visit the bathroom before making my journey home, passed around them and went to the empty checkout. As I placed my basket down I heard half-whispered “There is a queue”.
I said nothing but felt irritation both that they had adequate time to select the checkout so had no grounds for complaint and, more absurdly, that I had not checked first that they were not queuing.
Act 2 – Humour
The sundries were enough that the whole was larger than my rucksack. I had a choice between assaulting my fingers and the environment by using a carrier bag for the sundries or carrying the litter: I chose to carry the litter.
I know from previous experience of compost and other similar products that the best way for me to transport the weight for any distance is not from one hand but resting on a shoulder. My only issue was how to raise it up, for the litter, previously hanging like a block of lead, took on the characteristics of its intended recipient and flowed around my arm as I raised it.
My struggles were interrupted by a member of staff asking if I was all right. Focussed on my task I replied, “Yes. I just need to pop to the bathroom.” They looked from the litter to me with apparent confusion.
Act 3 – Banality
Once my journey had begun I found the fluidity a boon, for I could rest the centre of the bag on top of the rucksack and wrap an end onto each shoulder.
Were this an uplifting piece I might assure the reader that no-one looked at me oddly for my behaviour. But, truth be told, the journey was the same as others I had made without a bag of litter. It was unique only in the way that every journey is unique to those who consider their surroundings.
Epilogue – The Unseeing Eye
Each of these scenes could as easily be attempted as a tragedy, a comedy, or a neutral report. As with all situations, the absurdity is there or not because I sought it or not.
What each does have in common is that my slant comes from someone’s incomplete perception of events: I assumed the shopper’s half-whisper was directed at me and what was spoken was what I heard; the shop assistant did not know what I was thinking; I did not know whether anyone looked at my efforts to carry a bag of litter oddly from behind, or thought me strange.
So perhaps the true absurdity, and boon, is that our perception of the world is imperfect.
Cats and Clean Litter Trays….. Just what is the deal with that? (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
A Brace of Boojum (Davetopia)
In the Midst of Laughter and Glee (Davetopia)
I do not think it means what you think it means (Davetopia)