A Quest for Lettuce

Life is Good

Photo © Lon Casler Bixby

Last night was difficult, to say the least. I like to be in bed early. Nine, ten o’clock at the latest. Relax. Read, and drift peacefully off to sleep. But at about quarter till nine last night, I made the mistake of looking in my fridge. Empty.

Knowing that I had a lot to do today, I looked at the clock and decided that I still had the time to run quickly to the market, grab some essentials—milk, eggs, bread, fruit, veggies, and most importantly—some lettuce. I’m a big salad eater and I like it with every meal. Excluding breakfast.

If I hurried, I could be back home in plenty of time, and still be on schedule with my nightly routine.

I put my flip-flops on (which I seldom wear), locked the door, went down the steps, and headed to my car. Halfway to the parking garage, I realized that I forgot my glasses. Yeah, I need glasses for driving. Back up the steps, unlock the door, grab my glasses, lock the door, down the steps, and into the car. I press the clicker for the security gate—it’s moving slow tonight.

I exit the garage and about halfway down the block—wallet. Not in my pocket. Back to the garage, wait for the gate, park, up the steps, unlock the door, grab my wallet, lock the door, down the steps, into the car, through the gate, and drive to the market.

Traffic is light.

I pull into the parking lot, and like my fridge, it’s almost empty. About a dozen cars. Great. I’ll be in and out in no time at all. I park, head into the store, grab a cart, and veggie aisle here I come. But, I was stopped in my tracks—no lettuce. No iceberg. No greenleaf. No redleaf. Nothing. Oh wait. At least they have some kale. Ew. It’s completely wilted and starting to slime. Nope. And the rest of their veggie selection fared no better.

Okay. There’s another market a few miles away. No big deal. Let me just grab a few of the other things on my list and then go there to get the lettuce. I place a few items in the cart, go to the checkout and… are you kidding me?

Twelve cars in the lot and twelve people waiting in line to check out. Of course, it’s the new cashier. Learning, but slow, and has to keep calling the manager.

About the time I paid for my food, they opened another line.

I put my bag of groceries in the trunk, and drive toward the other store.

Traffic has increased.

It takes me almost twenty minutes to drive the two miles to the 24-hour giant, chain-food store. I park and head to the entrance. The door’s locked with a sign saying to use the other entrance. I walk to the other end of the large building and just as I am about to enter, a security guard closes and locks the door. I question his actions, and he rapidly points to another sign which states something or another about the store closing early tonight for some reason or another. I can’t quite see the words, because all I can see is red.

Now I’m frustrated, and starting to get annoyed—which will soon turn to anger. I want my lettuce.

Okay. There’s another 24 hour market on the other side of town. Third times the charm.

Traffic is heavy. Takes a long time.

This store has two entrances. One in front, one behind. The one behind is closer. I pull in, park, and enter the store.

Lettuce. Finally.

The selection is slim, but that’s okay. I grab a head of iceberg and make my way to the cashier. My card’s denied.

I just happen to have enough change in my pocket to pay in quarters, dimes, nickels, and a final penny. I head to the exit where I find the back door now blocked and locked with a sign stating to use the front entrance. I walk back through the store and exit out the front. Now, I have to walk all the way around the block just to get to the back parking lot.

Annoyance turned to anger.

The sidewalk is closed for construction. I have to go the opposite direction, cross a busy street at the light, walk down the other side, then at the far light cross again before I can finally get to my car.

Fine. But just one problem. In the middle of the first crosswalk, the strap to my flip-flop broke. Can’t walk with just one. So now, I’m barefoot.

After stepping on and in all kinds of I-don’t-know-what, I reach my car and pop the trunk to place the grocery bag. The bag rips open and my lettuce rolls under the car. Crawling halfway under I retrieve my prize, then drive home.

Traffic is very heavy. Takes forever.

I press the clicker—the gate is still slow. I park. As I’m grabbing my groceries, I hit my head on the open trunk which causes it to slam down onto my elbow.

I don’t swear, but I did!

I take my food up the steps, unlock the door, and flick the kitchen switch. Light pops—burnt out. No way am I getting on a chair to change it. By the light of the fridge, I put the groceries away—making a special space for the lettuce.

I washed the grime off my feet, tended to my cuts and bruises, then glanced at the clock.

Just after midnight. Three hours to get a head of lettuce.

I don’t really remember reading or falling asleep, but I only slept a few hours, then woke up early. I guess I was anxious for today to pass—so I could enjoy a nice salad with my dinner tonight.

Life is good.

Lon Casler Bixby
Lon Casler Bixby

Lon Casler Bixby is a published author: Fiction, Poetry, Humor, & Comic Books. He's also an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured in magazines, art & coffee table books, & in Art Galleries throughout the world.

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A Quest for Lettuce