Never, and I mean Never, let someone cut in front of you at a convenience store. Because there is a 110% chance that the person who cuts in front of you is going to waste 20 minutes of your life picking out lottery tickets. You know this character. They cash in their scratch tickets every goddamn day but somehow they need to go through every option one by one. This is apparently their one ticket to fame and fortune. They have their index finger hovering in the air slowly going back and forth between their options like a magic wand (a wand that smells like cigarettes, malt liquor, and desperation) and they’re casting spells to make all their dreams come true (Bigger RV, pool in the front yard, hookers.)
Finally they settle on the aptly titled Fool’s Gold and pause. They look behind them to acknowledge the line (angry mob) forming behind them and then they start all over again. Because that last 5 minutes was only for a lousy $2 scratch ticket, and oh boy this Hamilton (raise your hand if you remembered he was on the $10 dollar bill?) is burning a hole in their pocket. 4 more times. If you’re at the end of the line you may have to deal with more of these lottery junkies before it’s your turn, and man, are you lucky. Because who doesn’t want every day to feel like waiting at the DMV?
If you’re fortunate enough you can find the humor in it and realize that you’re having a Larry David moment. Over the weekend I had to make a stop at one of these stores but the 3 spots in the front of the store were taken. I could’ve parked illegally on the side of the building…after all I should only be in there a few minutes….but I chose to be a good citizen and take a spot in the back lot. Of course, between the time it takes me to park and walk to the door, someone illegally parks, smiles at me, and gets out of their rusty pick-up truck. I’ve got two options. I could full out sprint and possibly crash into this guy to beat him to the door, or I take my chances and walk in behind him. I wait. Grand Master Lottery Wizard. Level 10 Scratch Off Champion. Motherfucker.
As soon as I’m in line behind this guy I see his eyes shifting toward the scratch tickets. Sigh. (read: muttering obscenities in my head) He goes through his lottery ritual, prolonging the inevitable where he takes them back to his car, loses immediately, and has to abandon his dreams of white trash paradise. And while I wait, I do anything to pass the time: check my watch (box scores on phone), tap my feet (god they still play “Party in the USA” this much?), and look at all the goods in the store (I’m so old this means buying an ice cream sandwich and not checking out the trashy girl behind me). I’m bored enough that I’m seriously contemplating going full Curb Your Enthusiasm mode, and making a scene. I’m actually daydreaming about pulling this guy aside and berating him on how he should really not be an inconsiderate prick and let the guy with 2 items pass. I want to tell him that his kind makes life worse for the rest of us and not hold back. And finally, I want to fight with the clerk and tell him how they should create a lottery only line or I’m taking my business elsewhere! ( Because he’s going to miss this $3.75 for a soda and a pack of gum)
But most of all I want to start swearing at everyone else in the store like we’re at a dinner with Curb’s favorite chef. That would really make me feel better about the whole moment. I just want to sling together some vulgarities like never before, fill the space with indiscriminate anger, and get it out of my system. But I’m not Larry David. I’m just a schmuck who was late for a wedding and whose hands are covered with vanilla ice cream and thin chocolate cake.