My coffee supply was running low this morning, so I pulled on some jeans and pod-personed the two blocks uphill to my local grocery of predatory prices, Cala Foods». I’d had a (single) beer last night with the team to reward on-time release and celebrate a co-worker’s birthday at The Irish Bank, so I was feeling especially sluggish and in need of java.
I placed coffee beans, a half gallon of milk, a half gallon of apple juice, and my “It Serves You Right” tote on the conveyer belt. The cashier who interrupted his restocking to ring me out asked if I was sure the groceries wouldn’t break what was already in the bag. I thought the only thing in there was an empty umbrella bag I use for my coffee thermos.
He pulled out a black box and said, “Microsoft Office.” I had forgotten I put the box in there so I could use the product code to activate the software on my new office desktop.
“Oh right. I forgot I’d put that in there.”
“Yeah, you don’t want to break it with how much you probably paid.” Inspecting the box more carefully, “For Mac. I can’t afford one of those right now.”
“My employer is the one who affords it.”
“Oh yeah? I hear Macs don’t get as many viruses.”
Smiling, “Anyone can ruin a computer, especially me.”
We both chuckle at situations we know too well, each with its own variations and themes. I obscured the fact that I own lots of Apple equipment because in that pre-dawn get-some-coffee moment, I didn’t want to be different than my Joe-cashier dude. I wasn’t feeling higher up on the socioeconomic ladder from him and wanted to emphasize what we had in common over the accidents of employment and biography.
Doing so gave me a chance to laugh at my own human foible, a laugh I really needed right then.