To Me It Was The Grocery Store, To Dude It Was Noah’s Ark

THERE HE WAS LIKE A BAD OMEN.

SO I AM SHOPPING IN Kroger at a particularly busy time of day on a winter’s day when the weather is shifting from snow to rain.  Dude, a 40-something man with graying hair and expensive eyeglasses, is in my way.

Everywhere I go in the store, Dude, in his perfectly pressed dark blue jeans and black hoodie, is there in front of me.

  • In the foyer, Dude grabs the shopping cart I’m reaching for.
  • In the produce section he blocks me from grabbing a Vidalia onion… the mushrooms… a head of iceberg lettuce.
  • In the bakery department he stands indecisively by the rustic sesame seed bread that I want to buy.
  • In the meat department I try to reach for some boneless skinless chicken breasts, but he and his cart are in my way …again… as he ponders all things chicken.
UH HUH.

I LOSE TRACK OF DUDE while I’m shopping the interior aisles of the store.  I grab a jar of green olives stuffed with garlic and a box of Cheerios unhindered by his in-the-way-ness.

But he reappears in my life as I walk from the cheese department, where I’ve picked up some Swiss cheese, to the yogurt department where I want to buy one container of plain no-fat yogurt.

It is there, trapped behind this man once again …waiting… that I realize there’s writing on the back of his black hoodie.

NATURALLY I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IT SAYS.

I BEGIN TO STALK DUDE as he walks up and down the freezer case aisles, but he never stops to grab something from a freezer case when he’s under a bright overhead light so I’m unable to see the gibberish on the back of his hoodie.

Eventually we both end up in the refrigerated beverage section of the store where Dude reaches for a gallon of iced tea.  He’s standing under a light so I can read the pithinicity that’s written on the back of his hoodie.

Unsurprisingly, it says what I believe to be about the dumbest thing ever, while perfectly explaining Dude’s behavior while shopping in the grocery.  The writing on the hoodie said:

“If you’re going to fight, fight like you are the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s Ark and brother it’s starting to rain.”

REALLY, DUDE? THAT’S YOUR MESSAGE. HOW VERY. 

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

59 thoughts on “To Me It Was The Grocery Store, To Dude It Was Noah’s Ark”

    1. bobcabkings, I think that you’re onto something there. I don’t know when I’ve been more inconvenienced by one person while shopping in the grocery store. Dude was in his own world. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m not even sure how to respond to this, other than to say I would like to have seen you get a running start and just ram this guys cart (and maybe him as well if he was attached to the cart) and send it sailing away from those chicken breasts and right into the feminine hygiene aisle.

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    1. Deb, what a brilliant idea… that I didn’t think of while I was standing there in the store. I realize that when grocery shopping everyone eventually runs into a self-absorbed shopper– but Dude with his unique sweatshirt message was something else indeed.

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  2. He clearly is an agent of Big Food tasked with forcing you into the center aisles where it is all about the margin and less about the nutrition. Had you only decided to feast on more things like Cheetos you would have had a much happier shopping experience.

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  3. The message explains a lot. My biggest peeve in the grocery store are when two friends (are they really since they act like they haven’t seen each other in decades?) stop to chat endlessly and totally block the aisle. However, that is self-limiting as you can shop the rest of the store unencumbered unless you find more duos of friends. Or the godawful humongous kid cars they attach to the front of a cart so it requires as much room to maneuver as it does an 18-wheeler. Ok, I’m done with my peeves. Did he really have pressed jeans? Wow!

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    1. Kate, you’re right, the message said it all. And yes, his jeans were so perfectly ironed that the bottom hem looked like it was a sharp blade.

      I know what you mean about these “friends” who stop to chat, in the way, oblivious to other people. That happens often while I’m shopping, but I can understand that behavior [sort of]– or at least I overlook it so often that it doesn’t even register anymore.

      However, Dude was a species unto himself, never before seen in the wild, like our grocery store

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  4. Perhaps you missed the boat (or Ark) on this one, Ally. Maybe he’s your soul mate (after all, “he’s everywhere you want to be”) OR . . . the Universe kept placing him in your path until you “got the message.”

    Maybe his missive means: “UNLESS you are fighting for your very survival on the eve of Apocalypse . . . calm down and let it go.” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nancy, sure… maybe… What you suggest could be the real meaning behind Dude’s sweatshirt message– and the Universe could be forcing Dude & I together for some reason yet to be revealed. However, my intuition about Dude tells me that he’s so self-absorbed that spending eternity with him as my soul mate would be a kind of hell. 👿

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    1. philmouse, I wondered about that, too! He was shopping slowly, like he was fussy– or confused– or following someone? His outfit was out of place for a midwest suburban grocery store, almost like he thought that by wearing the hoodie he was blending in. Weird, for sure.

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  5. Oh Ally, how do you find them? Wonder if he was thinking about the woman stalking him? No eye contact? A friendly “so we meet again?” It’s the pressed jeans that scare me. Who does that?

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    1. Janet, I doubt that he noticed I was stalking him. He didn’t notice me when he was directly in my way, so why would he notice me if I was following him? No eye contact at all, and like you said, those jeans… 😦

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  6. Interesting saying on his hoodie! I would stay out of his way. Monkeys are vicious. 😉 I’ve had the same thing happen to me in a store, but we usually notice and end up laughing about it. On another note, I LOVE THOSE GARLIC STUFFED OLIVES.

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    1. Margaret, that hoodie with that saying was unexpected and weird. I don’t know if it was supposed to be inspiring or threatening. I’d say it was stupid, but then maybe I’m more self-aware than Dude. Agree about those olives. Too yummy.

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  7. There is always at least one person in the grocery store that keeps being where I want to be – or I keep being where they want to be – but none as interesting or unaware as your Dude. So far in this life, anyway. Maybe he used to have a partner that did all the shopping, but the partner got tired of his being so completely oblivious to everything not him and left – leaving him to fend for himself. Karma!

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    1. Carol, I like your karmic backstory for Dude. He was fending for himself– and only himself. Like you mention, I’ve had people who seem to be where I want to be in the store, but not like this man who was impervious to his in-the-way-ness. While wearing his stupid sweatshirt.

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  8. That is an awful lot of writing on one small hoodie. That reminds me of those people who have what amounts to an entire paragraph of text tattooed to some part of their body they should probably be covering in public anyway. And usually it’s some deep meaning nonsense or some ridiculous personal mantra. Why? If I want to read something, that’s what books (and blogs) are for…

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    1. evilsquirrel13, you’re right. There were a lot of words on his hoodie, and Dude kept NOT standing under an overhead light. Like he didn’t know that I needed to know what was written on the back of his sweatshirt!

      I agree about those wordy tats. Read a book, not a body. That’s my personal mantra! 😉

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  9. Hilarious. Now what if the third monkey is the only male of the three or the only female? No need to fight then. I realize that’s not the point of the story, but argumentative me had to point that out. Surprised you weren’t in the check out line behind him too!

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    1. Betsy, you’re thinking this through to a degree that never occurred to me. I hadn’t considered how Noah had a definite preference for the gender of each of his animals. I was surprised Dude wasn’t in front of me at checkout, too. The last I saw of him he was heading toward the pharmacy… maybe to get his script filled? 🙂

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  10. Are you SURE he wasn’t doing a sort of grown-up version of the junior high dance “hey, she looks nice/kind/pretty/interesting *insert your own descriptive term* and so I’m going to follow her around and bump into her randomly in the hope that she’ll talk to ME, instead of me having to talk to her first…? He sounds a bit smitten frankly, but that hoodie statement? Well there’s a stupid phrase born every second and someone has to put it on clothing… sad. But “not your circus, definitely not your monkey” right? 😉

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    1. Embeecee, oh dear, you don’t suppose he was interested in me… socially? Now that you say it I realize that his behavior was junior high scared boy. 🤔

      Great comeback with “not my circus, not my monkeys.” That’s one of my all-time favorite sayings. You win the gold star for the day, my dear. 🌟

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  11. I too have encountered my own versions of these ‘disruptors’ in the grocery store. Whenever it happens, I can’t help but wonder why the Universe is punishing me.

    As for the odd saying on the back of his hoodie? … I’ve long given up on trying to account for other people and their taste in anything.

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    1. Joanne, you are a wise woman. I realize that it was a lousy day and I was shopping at peak hours, but really… he never once acknowledged that I existed. And I agree with you, there’s no accounting for taste or meaning when confronted with stupid. Like that hoodie.

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      1. I’ve gotten to the point where I often acknowledge the person now by saying something like “I appear to be stalking you”. It almost always gets me a laugh and seems to take the awkwardness out of the situation – ie, that feeling like I want to ram them with my shopping cart. It’s especially helpful when I subsequently find their car is parked beside mine! 😉

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        1. Made me laugh with the practicality of your response. I’m filing your tactic away to use when the situation warrants. Which will be often, considering how people behave anymore. 🙄

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  12. These days, nothing surprises me when it comes to human behavior…especially if you’re in a Walmart. I recently had a similar experience in the grocery store, but with a woman and her 3 crying children. They were under my feet no matter where I went. They were blocking every item I was searching for. Now that I think about it, I think they were stalking me! 🙂

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    1. Jill, I agree with you about not being surprised. I guess I should have expected something oddball on the back of this guy’s hoodie. Kids in the way? *meh* That’s difficult because it’s the responsibility of the adult to keep them in check, so being mad at the kids seems wrong… yet…

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  13. If this were a RomCom, you would fall in love with Dude. After being annoyed by his in-the-way-ness, and his stupid hoodie, you would discover his handsome, chiseled features, his vulnerable heart, and that his beloved mother gave him that hoodie as a joke, because it’s so awful, the week before she was in a tragic accident. He’s trying to piece together his life after her loss, trying to gather ingredients for a meal with his sister, who is coming into town, and his father, who is beside himself with grief….but his own grief is making him indecisive and melencholy.

    Once you understand this, and he gets to understand you and your NEED TO GET IN AND OUT OF THE STORE WITHOUT BEING DELAYED, you fall in love.

    The End.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J, THIS IS BRILLIANT! I’m sure your screenplay, based on my experience with Dude in the grocery, will be wonderful. When it comes time to cast for the movie no doubt Meg Ryan will play me and Tom Hanks will be the Dude, whose real name is Tristan. The only thing left to decide is the title of the movie– and whether I should wear a black or dark navy gown when I go to the Academy Awards, where this movie will win all the awards. 🏆

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      1. That would totally be casting against type, because I see Meg Ryan as the indecisive one, and Tom Hanks as wanting to get through the store. Because they are playing against type, they will win an Oscar, which is rare for a RomCom.

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  14. Well, I never. I have, but with a woman whose behind and hair were almost as big as her cart, but she had no apparent motto. Had she, I’m almost certain it would have been go big or go home.

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    1. joey, this man was not the usual shopper in our suburban grocery store, and unlike other people who’ve gotten in my way over the years, he was [it seemed to me] flaunting his disregard for grocery shopping norms. What a bother he was…

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    1. Donna, yes Deb is onto something with her idea. I dunno about the practicality of pushing Dude through the store to a department he might despise, but it makes me smile at the thought of it.

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  15. That’s an awful lot of angst for the back of a hoodie. But, obviously, it spoke to him.
    Or from whomever he borrowed it, which would be the scenario with my two sons.

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    1. nance, it’s funny you say this. When I told Zen-Den about Dude’s hoodie he said he thought the hoodie belonged to a kid– and Dude was wearing it to stay warm more than to declare an opinion. Great minds, you two!

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  16. The Dude abides… but it’s hard to abide the Dude. If I ever encounter someone while shopping that I’d rather avoid (screaming kids, unpleasant odors, people from my past who need to stay buried there, etc.), I just hang out in another area until they move well along… for hours if necessary.

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    1. Janis, I didn’t think of not shopping, hiding out by the tofu where no one ever goes to in our store. I was optimistic that Dude would be gone after each awkward encounter. I can’t remember the last time that any shopper was as much in my way as this guy! HOWEVER, if it happens again I’m going to follow your advice and make myself scarce.

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  17. Oh my goodness, this would have so annoyed me! I am impatient to begin with, so I do not like to be messed around with when I’m running errands. My biggest pet peeve in the grocery store is when people leave their carts in the middle of the aisles and then go shopping like 5 blocks away, for Pete’s sake! Why not have the brains to move your cart over to the side of the aisle so people can pass by??

    So glad you figured out what was on the back of that guy’s hoodie. He doesn’t sound very likeable, from shopping habits to public messages.

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    1. Kate, Dude was annoying in a way that just didn’t stop. I’m kind of mellow when I shop, but he bugged me with his complete lack of awareness regarding anyone else but Dude. And then that message. * shakes head in dismay *

      I agree about the carts in the middle of the aisle phenomenon. I don’t understand that behavior at all. Didn’t those people pay attention in kindergarten when we were all taught to mind our own things? To keep track of our belongings? I mean really…

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