Location: Moonee Ponds K-Mart, standing in a long queue.
Time: earlier today
My frame of mind: day-dreaming with Barbra Streisand's 'Memories' as the soundtrack, feeling all droopy and sentimental.
Situation: Four customers are ahead of me and my stomach is rumbling.
Customer One, holding a black pair of size 24 knickers against her stomach, says to the check out girl: "So what do you think? Would these fit me?
Checkout girl: "Um, maybe. Do you want me to phone someone to come over and help you?"
Customer One sucks on her dentures, pushing them in and out of her mouth as she thinks: "Would they be able to tell me if these would fit me or not?
Checkout girl, smiling politely: "Er no, but he'd be able to help you find a bigger size if you'd----"
Customer One shakes her head: "Nah nah, not a 'he'. Here...." (she bunches up the undies and hands them to CG), "......you can have these back. I'll try again another day. When I remember to bring me specs."
Customers Two and Three are a couple trying hard not to gape at Customer One and have instead become engrossed in a No Idea magazine and haven't heard CG say, "Next Please."
Two taps her beloved's arm nervously: "Darling, I have to ask....."
Two: "I must be the only person in the world who doesn't know what 'moobs' are."
CG: "Next please."
CG says slightly louder: "Next Please."
Two whips the magazine out of Three's hands and shoves it back into the rack: "What, it's so dumb of me not to know that you have to piss yourself laughing?"
CG: "NEXT PLEASE!"
Three: "Oops, that's us," and he places their homewares on the counter and gets out his wallet.
I tap her on the shoulder. "I couldn't help overhearing. Moobs are man boobs."
Two: "Ohhhhh. Well know I know! Thank you for being more helpful than---" she whacks his gently on the arse "......this old tool here."
Customer Four has only one item but it is threatening to fall out of her trolley.
CG: "How many rolls do you have there?"
Customer Four does a quick count: "Six packs. They're only five bucks each you know." Proud of finding such a bargain, she says it loudly and turns around to smile and include me in her good fortune as well.
CG: "Oh dear, they're scanning as eleven dollars each. Can you lift it closer and I'll try again?"
Customer Four struggles, because she's bought the entire shipment of toilet paper that has yet to be unpacked by the KMart boys and each packet of 3 x 18 bog rolls is sealed to the other in thick transparent plastic on a cardboard tray.
"Here, let me help you." I lift up the box like Atlas under the earth and it scans at $5 per pack.
Customer Four: "Thanks love."
I can't help but say: "Well you either eat a lot of fibre or have a much bigger bathroom than I do."
Customer Four politely chuckles as she wheels her trolley towards the exit.
Suddenly, a huge piercing alarm rings and two staff appear out of nowhere in front of Customer Four. They give the trolley a cursory check, do something magical with a swipe card to stop the din and allow C4 to pass. Over her shoulder she calls out to CG and myself, "All this fuss for three ply!"
Now it is my turn. I hand over two pairs of jeans - size 12 girls' for only $19 - and two pairs of 8A bras.
CG has noticed my amusement at the events beforehand and says:"I didn't know they made bras in size 8."
Me: "Me either. They're for my daughter. I think she needs them and I... just... can't... believe... how quickly the time has flown by." Frack, I'm starting to tear up.
CG smiles. "Geez, I remember my mum getting all weepy too."
I clear my throat and change the subject. "So it's been big undies, blokes with boobs and bog rolls for you, hasn't it?"
CG laughs. "The old lady is a regular and she doesn't recognise me from the nursing course I'm studying. She was one of the patients I looked after during my rehab stint. But we all know her here and do what we can to help, but today for some reason she's here without her community carer."
Me: "Oh? She seems like a character and, let's face it, we all want undies that fit, regardless of our age and size."
CG nods. "I'm off shift in half an hour, but I'll leave these here with a note for my supervisor to find a bigger size for her because Doreen's a regular and deserves our respect."
Me: "You're right."
CG: "There was a guy standing between her and that other couple, but he got so embarassed when she paraded the undies that he left and went to the back of the queue on check out nine!"
I took my bags and receipt and said to CG, "You know, if you ever have time between studies and your work, you should blog about this."