Thursday, July 29, 2010

Losing My Religion

Sur La Table was calling my name. Not to buy new kitchen gear, but because Lily had taken possession of a mandoline purchased a year ago as a birthday present for a friend of mine. Last year I gave the mandoline to this friend (who shall remain unnamed), but in the drunken stupor that ensued that night, I wound up with the unwrapped mandoline at my house for the next 12 months. And Lily, seeing that the mandoline wasn't moving from its hiding place in the closet, decided to put it to good use, slicing all sorts of vegetables perfectly.

I wasn't about to call her out on it, especially with a mouth full of perfectly sliced vegetables. But I knew the mandoline had to be replaced and given to its rightful owner. Which is where the trip to Sur La Table comes in.

I walked into the store carrying the same shopping bag which held the same shredded birthday wrapping paper and a few spices we gave last year. I quickly found the mandoline section, and the identical make and model. I walked over to the cash register, where I was next in line. I waited.

As is the case with most every Sur La Table, the registers sit in an island in the middle of the store. On the other side of the island from where I was standing, I noticed a white woman wearing a white turban following her toddler around the island, probably to keep the child from breaking everything in sight.

Something metal fell and made a crashing sound. But it wasn't the child who caused the crash, it was a man who I assumed was her husband: A white male wearing a white turban. He sported a huge red beard that would put the ZZ Top guitarists to shame. And the guy was NFL lineman size, as in freakishly humongous.

The man slowly made his way around the island clumsily knocking things over. A can of spatulas here, a wooden bowl there. As he made his way toward me, he reached for a green plastic cutting board and knocked that to the floor. Seeing's how I'm closer to the ground than he was, I decided to pick it up for him. He said "thanks" and proceeded to stand in line as impossibly close to me without knocking me over.

As he turned and joked about something to his lady friend, I felt myself leaning away from him at what felt like a 45 degree angle. I thought "Why the hell am I leaning over like this" so I straightened myself up, holding my ground and waiting to be smacked in the head with the next thing he knocked over.

Finally it was my turn at the register, so I stepped up and handed over the mandoline and my credit card. "I don't need a bag" I told the cashier, hoping to get out of there possibly three seconds sooner. As I was being rung up, NFL lineman guy asked if he could put his stuff on the counter, and I said yes. He put a tiny cutting board and a whisk on the counter in front of me. I couldn't help but wonder why such a large person would need to set a couple tiny things down. Too heavy for him?

The cashier handed over the new mandoline and the receipt. As I walked out of the store, I heard the crash of yet another kitchen item being knocked over. Clumsy.

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