Last Friday I saw something in the dried fruit aisle at Costco that made me thank the universe for the existence of random coincidence and my momentary good luck. I was already angry, even though I’d only been in Costco for what must have been less than a minute or so. But in that minute I’d already had a futile argument with a man at the door whose sole task it was to check whether you were a Costco member as you entered Costco.
“Why would I be here if I wasn’t a member?” I asked.
“I must check,” he insisted.
“It’s not as if I want to be here,” I added. “I wouldn’t sneak in.”
“I must check,” he said again.
“They can check when I pay,” I said and marched on just as other people entered.
“Sir!” he called after me.
I continued, but seconds later he was at my side. “Sir,” he wheezed, for he was very large, “your card?”
I dug my card from my back pocket and showed him.
“What about these people who have now walked in without you checking them?” I asked.
“He’s just doing his job,” a young woman in a mask said and showed the man her card. “You don’t have to be an asshole.”
I walked off, my ears burning. If Mia had been here, she’d have called me an asshole too. I was thinking about this and about the very real chance that I might actually be an asshole when I turned into the dried fruit aisle. I was looking for tart cherries, but what I found was a moment of rare and wonderful coincidence. An enormous man blocked the aisle. He was in his seventies and had a faded red beard with what appeared to be a yellow nicotine stain around his mouth. In his hand was a quad cane, a walking stick with four little rubber feet. Before him danced a small Asian woman, older still, who had a similar, smaller cane. The two sets of feet had become entangled.
“Let go!” she yelled and yanked at her cane.
“Lady, keep still,” the man said and pulled this way, and that.
“Hey!” the little woman yelled.
A second later the two canes came apart.
“Asshole!” the woman snapped and staggered off.
The man and I looked at one another for a fleeting moment. He shook his head in bewilderment and limped away.