“It says a lot about a society’s priorities when you can fit a thousand songs into something the size of a quarter, but you can’t drink the fucking water,” a friend said of the boil-water advisory.
Jockeying for position in the lineup at Safeway, I couldn’t agree with him more. Were it not for the advisory, I would not be here playing shopping cart Tetris.
I could have avoided all this. I could have just boiled some murky tap water and strained it through a coffee filter like everyone else. But no, I had to be a fag and buy a fashionable four-litre, refillable water dispenser.
Just when I’m feeling my most claustrophobic, I notice the new Starbucks inside the store. I don’t know what focus group from hell decided there should be a Starbucks in every Safeway, but I hope they die in horrible, coffee-related accidents. I can’t move, but I could get a half-caf skinny latte.
As Interac processes my transaction, like Helen Keller learning to spell “water,” I frisk myself for my cell phone.
What good are unlimited minutes when you forget your phone?
“Can you call me a cab?” I ask the cashier politely.
“You have to go to customer service,” she says.
Customer service points through a stack of shopping baskets at a phone on the wall that looks like my mother’s. The phone puts me on hold until I give up. As I push through the automatic doors, my cart starts rolling down the hill.
What is the first thing I see? Another Starbucks.
I can’t get a cab, but I can always soothe my nerves with a fucking macchiato.
Snow begins to fall; big, fluffy, Charlie Brown flakes. By now, I have spent more time trying to leave the grocery store than I have shopping. All I want is to get home.
There is no dignity in pushing a shopping cart up Davie St, even if it’s just to get your groceries home.
“This is what SUVs are for,” I grumble to the beat of my water as it bounces around in the cart. Ironically, when I get to the top of the hill, I crave a cup of coffee.
Lifting my chi-chi water dispenser out of the shopping cart, I notice it’s hemorrhaging. In fact, I’ve left a trail of water behind me.
That’s when I snap. I call Safeway’s customer service number.
“Whatever happened to ‘Do you need help out?'” I start and then recount my ordeal. There is a pause.
“But what do you want?” asks someone who has heard everything. Good question.
“I want it to be the ’70s again.”
Barring that, a refund on my leaky, chi-chi water dispenser will do.