I don’t know about you, but I am usually a stickler about using the express lane at the grocery store. You will not find me trying to sneak 13 items past the cashier if the sign says 12, I don’t count multiples as “one”, and I am one of those incredibly annoying individuals who surreptitiously counts the items in the cart ahead of me if it seems to be a little on the “heavy” side, though thankfully, I am smart enough not to say anything. Somehow, though, that all changed yesterday. After a trip to pick up a few items, I did a quick count and thought I was good to go. Imagine my chagrin when I started unloading my cart only to find that I had hidden my six cartons of yogurt and three burritos under a package of spinach. Flustered, I said something to the cashier about not realizing I had more items. Her perfunctory smile was accompanied by that sceptical look that seemed to telegraph a sarcastic “right”. In that moment, I envisioned a siren erupting above my head, bathing the store in flashing red light accompanied by a cacophonous shriek. “Clean up in the express lane” a voice would say as two burly stockmen would drag me away to some terrible fate. As she screened item after item, I saw that there was someone behind me; even worse. I had brought my own bags (one small redeeming act), and started to help bag the items. As I grabbed a loaf of bread, the cashier retrieved it from me. “Have I scanned that?” she asked. The answer was no, and I imagined the two floor tiles under me giving way to deposit me below with the rotten cabbage. “So sorry,” I mumbled, letting her finish the task. I didn’t look behind me, but walked away hurriedly with my two bags and two gallons of milk. When I reached my car, I saw that it had been t-boned by a shopping cart, surely divine retribution for my transgressions. I’m sure I will eventually recover from this self-imposed trauma; with such an over-developed sense of rule following, is it any wonder that I never embarked on a life of crime?
One thought on “Express Stress”
I often feel the same way–I believe the syndrome is scrupulosity.