An otherwise nondescript, lazy Sunday afternoon was interrupted by my spouse’s sudden and totally out of character desire for a peanut butter sandwich.
The fact that we were out of bread, not to mention peanut butter, resulted in my launching a hasty excursion to the local supermarket with her final suggestion ringing in my ears, “You know, some Pralines & Cream ice cream would be good too – and make it crunchy peanut butter!”
Upon arriving at the store, I found the parking lot jammed to near overflowing with cars, reminding me that this was the last day before the beginning of the new school year. I knew then that I was about to pit myself against a thundering herd of young Mom’s frantic to get their hands on that last ream of notebook paper, package of #2 pencils, and/or tube of Elmer’s glue.
I serpentined through the congested aisles with the ease of an Olympic skier negotiating the Giant Slalom. Making short work of the peanut butter and ice cream, I decided that a bag of chocolate chip cookies would not go unappreciated. My timing was impeccable as I found the “10 items or fewer” checkout line was at that very moment empty of shoppers.
Moments later, I was crossing the parking lot to my car, mission nearly completed.
It was as I was putting my bag into the backseat that I noticed the shopping cart that had been left unattended in the empty parking space on the other side of my car. The cart was perfectly positioned to be rammed into another parked car by an inattentive driver hastily pulling in to one of the few open parking spaces available in a nearly full parking lot. To make matters worse, a shopping cart return corral was no more than 20 feet away.
I walked around my car and began to push the cart toward the return area while muttering something to myself on the subject of the short sightedness of inconsiderate, self-absorbed SOBs when I noticed the woman who had just then cranked up her obscenely super-sized Cadillac SUV in the parking spot next to the one in which the cart had been left.
While I can’t confirm that she was guilty of leaving the shopping cart unattended, I can say that the expression on her face immediately reminded me of the biblical admonition, “The guilty flee, where none pursue.“