Earlier this morning, I was at the Kroger grocery store on Dorothy Lane. I had a can of medium spicy Ro Tel tomatoes in one hand, mild in the other. I had a tough time deciding which one to get.
I looked up and realized I was crossing paths with this older crone woman employee, struggling to push this tall, blue multi-compartment cart designed to get online orders together. She stopped and stretched her back, taking a deep breath after scanning a can of garbanzo beans and bending over, tossing it in the bottom cubby.
It was obvious the hard working woman was in pain. I chimed in: “Are you okay?”
“Oh yeah,” she sighed with the voice of a lady who has carried many heavy loads in her lifetime, “ I’ve been doing this too damn long- all the bending and stretching gets to my back”
She rested her long, bony fingers of the left hand on her back while the right reached for a can of Ragu extra chunky mushroom pasta sauce at her eye level to scan next.
I wanted to give her gratitude, a sense of satisfaction, to feel some sort of form of accomplishment. Whether she knows it or not, she is the Sisyphus condemned to push the rolling bolder up the hill just to have it tumble down again, and repeat for all eternity, that is, she is the existential hero who has mastered the art fulfilling a societal role, a co-creator and producer of labor. A true hero.
Way to go. Way to get the duck out of the bottle without harming the duck nor breaking the bottle. Way to fucking exist.
She hauled the compartment cart past me, her salt/pepper hair and cape fluttering in the wind past my line of sight as I snapped back to reality.
I wanted to tell her how she moved me, but it would be socially unacceptable. Kinda weird. Sisy-who? Existential-what??
No, the only way I knew how to express the inspiration was with “I think you’re doing a good job”
She stopped and turned around, her old, kind eyes meeting mine. “Thanks. Finally, someone notices.”