Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Spilt beer

A story told thrice.

Oh shit, that was not good.
Uh, oh. Looks like the bottom fell out.
Oh jeez, I'm sorry.
Don't worry about it, we will clean it up.
I sure know how to pick out the checkout lines don't I? Will you be closing this lane?
Yeah, just for a little bit until we can clean this up.
I'm sorry about that.
It's not your fault. It's usually wine bottles that fall. People put them on the end of the conveyer and it moves and there they go.
Looks like you had a spill here.
It's Kokanee.
No wonder I was drawn to it.
One of my favorite beers.
Here you go. Here is another case for you.
Thanks for taking the trouble.
It's no trouble.
I think I should buy you a beer for it.

My mind was obviously elsewhere as I lifted the case of beer from the cart to the conveyer. If I had been paying attention I may have noticed the shift in weight and the unusual jangle of glass on glass. It was the sudsy pop of the bottle hitting the floor that pulled me from my woolgathering. The case was on the conveyer where I had intended it to be, but there were loose beer bottles scattered in my shopping cart and at my feet a puddle of beer crowned ungraciously with broken glass. My shoulders slumped, my spirit dropped and I muttered "Oh shit, not good" to myself.

"Looks like the bottom fell out." The fellow ahead of me in line offered. The clerks and workers were quick to respond. Far flung glass was quickly corralled, a 'Caution, wet floor' placard was produced.

"I sure know how to pick the checkout lines, don't I?" Chimed in the lady in queue behind me. I gave her my best 'sorry about that' shrug and look of penance. She smiled and eyed the next lane over. "Will you be closing this lane?" She asked.

"Yes, for just a little bit until we can clean this."

The lady pushed her cart toward the next checkout lane. My heart sank a little more. One more person inconvenienced by my carelessness.

"Sorry about that." I offered to the clerk as my goods made it to the front of the queue.

"Don't worry about it." She replied. She appeared pretty indifferent to the whole thing. "It's usually the wine bottles that fall." She confided in me. "People put them on the end there and the belt moves and they just go over." It was nice to know that she was experienced with people breaking things in her checkout lane, but I still felt low over it. Making others do extra work. At home I would have laughed off the spilt beer, gently curse myself and fetch a mop. Here in public I didn't even know where the broom closet was. I had to let the workers do the damage control for me. Left me feeling helpless.

A supervisor making the rounds passed by and observed the mess and ensuing cleanup work. "Looks like you had a spill here." She said to the clerk.

"It's Kokanee." The clerk replied with a smile.

"No wonder I was drawn to it." The supervisor smiled back.

"That's one of my favorite beers." The clerk bantered to me. I did not feel much like chatting. I would have passed on the beer entirely just to make the awkward scene I had created go away. But someone was already running to get a replacement case and the workers were smiling and joking like it happens every day and I just paid the bill and stood there uncomfortably.

"Here you go, I got another case for you." Said a man as he gently lowered the box into my shopping cart.

"Thanks for taking the trouble." I said.

"No trouble." The man replied with a smile.

"Still, I think I should buy you a beer for it."

The man laughed as he went to help with the mopping.

If I hadn't been checking out the boobs on the cashier I might have noticed the bottom of the case of beer give way as I hoisted it out of my shopping cart. I did that to myself I suppose. I always choose my checkout lane by how cute the clerk is. The end result was an explosion of beer. "Oh shit. Not good." I mutter. Could have been worse. Only one of them hit the floor.

I paused to assess the damage and the guy in front of me in line observed "Looks like the bottom fell out." Gee, you think so? I'm thinking that the bottle climbed out of the box and jumped.

A couple workers converged on the mess and started to triage the broken glass. Sad, but that beer was a goner. Gave its life unconsumed. "Jeez, I'm sorry." I said. There is only one good way to off a beer and that was not it.

"Don't worry about it. We got it." said the clerk. Interrupting my reverie for the fallen soldier.

The lady behind me in line watched the scene a little amused. "I sure know how to pick the right line don't I?" she said. It is the fate of us all. Try as we might to pick an expedient path through life sooner or later we get stuck behind some guy breaking things. I think it was mostly bad luck. Her method for picking a line couldn't be any worse than mine. She didn't stick around, she tried the next lane over.

"I'm sorry about that" I apologized to the clerk.

"Don't worry about it." She replied. She obviously was not phased by it. It was not her beer and apparently it was not her job to go crawling around on the floor doing cleanup either. As she watched over the others doing the dirty work she confided in me. "It's usually the wine bottles that fall. People put them on the end there and the belt moves and over they go." She made the conveyer jerk to illustrate her point and we smiled together over her power to make people feel foolish and put cleaner drones to work.

Watching others clean a mess is apparently a popular pastime in the checkout aisle as a supervisor wandered past commenting "Looks like you had a spill here."

"It's Kokanee" the clerk replied with a hint of glee. As though it were a score in a contest to see who could create the widest variety of messes.

"No wonder I was drawn to it." Fawned the supervisor. We all smiled and nodded knowingly. For some of us the scent of fresh beer can be an aphrodisiac, a pheromone drawing us from miles away.

"It's one of my favorite beers." The clerk said. I had to agree. An affordable import. I never knew of it until I moved here. It is a beer that has managed to find the perfect balance between cheap and tasty.

I paid my tab and lounged against the counter a little. My habit of choosing cashiers by cuteness was paying off. While waiting on another worker to fetch a replacement case I got to admire the clerk some more and revel in the thought that this particular cutie shares my taste in beer. Careful there Jones. It is thinking like this that distracted you into spilling beer in the first place.

A guy finally arrived hefting a box. "Here you go." He said, setting it into my cart. "Here is another case for you."

"Thanks for taking the trouble." I said.

"No trouble." He replied. He was smiling like someone who just weaseled out of mop duty.

"Well, I think I should buy you a beer for it."

He laughed. Hopefully this crew was smart enough to put three or four extra bottles on the breakage inventory so they could each enjoy a cold one thanks to my mishap.

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Great post! I like the 3 different views....
So...did you get her number?
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