I stopped by the grocery store on my way home the other day. The parking lot had been freshly paved. There's nothing quite like the smell of new asphalt on a hot summer evening. It smelled as if my shoes should stick when I stepped on it.
I had a retarded cart. About every five steps one of the front wheels would stick hard, the cart stopping abruptly, the handle jamming my mid-section. I kept trying to anticipate the rhythm but never did get it right.
My cart lightly loaded, I pulled into the express checkout lane. The cashier was a young Jamaican woman. Her hair was braided and big, resembling a calm Medusa. She set the first bag of veggies onto the scale, then looked up at me and asked "What are these?" in her delightful lilting accent.
"Thai eggplant," I replied. "T-h-a-i. Eggplant with an E." I smiled. "It's quite tasty. You should try it."
She looked up the code on her flip chart and punched it into the register. Then she picked up the next item and looked at me questioningly.
"Zucchini," I supplied. "Starts with a Z." She again consulted her chart.
The man in line behind me said, unsolicited, "I like to chop up zucchini and put it in spaghetti sauce."
The cashier and I looked at him, nodding and smiling, both wondering why he thought we'd care. She bagged the zucchini and put the next item on the scale, glancing at me expectantly.
"Asparagus," I compliantly spoke. "With an A."