The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Just Another Day in L.A.

English: Shelves of packaged food inside a Ral...
 Shelves of packaged food inside a Ralphs grocery store in Los Angeles
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


        The other day I needed some groceries so I went to the supermarket near my home.  It was still fairly early in the morning--a bit earlier than my normal shopping excursions--but I just wanted to get this grocery trip out of the way so I could go on to the other things I wanted to do.

       Grabbing a shirt that I'd tossed over a chair the day before, I put it on and plopped my cell phone in the pocket.  My mind was a jumble of the things I needed to buy at the store and the things I wanted to do later.  I rarely make lists, tending to instead think and rethink my list until I have it pretty well memorized.  What that sometimes means is that I not only occasionally forget an item or two that I meant to get, but I also end up getting a bunch of stuff that I hadn't set out to get.  That's the way I shop these days.

        Today seemed no different than most, a bit cooler and hazier perhaps, but still with every indication that it would be just another beautiful warm sunny Los Angeles day while back east folks were suffering record-breaking cold and snow.   And just a few days prior to this one we'd recorded a record-breaking hot day in the 90's.  I thought about those weather things while I drove half listening to the talk show on the radio and looking around at the urban world as I passed through it, all the while trying to drive carefully.  I looked into the other cars to see who I might see, not to think I'd see anyone I'd know, but just to see what kind of people were in those cars.

         After I pulled into my parking space at the Ralph's Market, I sauntered inside noting that at 8:30 in the morning there were less people at the market than at the normal 10 or 11 o'clock hour that I usually came here. A lady with a kid in her cart of groceries was heading to her car.  An elderly couple was heading into the store.  There would not be that many people shopping at this time of day. Easy in and out would be good and I didn't have that much to buy anyway so that would be fine with me.

         So I grabbed a cart and began strolling first through the produce department where I looked at the apples but didn't buy any and then grabbed a bunch of bananas that were on sale for fifty-nine cents per pound.  As I made my way through the aisles that mattered to me plucking what I needed off of the shelves, my mind wandered to things like a movie I had seen recently, blog posts that I planned on writing, and what I should have for lunch.   I considered buying some kind of chips but deferred on that purchase, but did pick up some coffee creamer that I remembered that I was running low on.

       Then finally done with the shopping I pulled into one of the two check-out lanes that were open, loaded the conveyor belt with the few items I had picked up throughout the store, and reached into my pocket for my Ralph's loyalty card to give to the cashier.  It was at that moment I made a horrifying discovery.   I was not wearing any pants.  There I was in my tighty-whities and a shirt I'd pulled off of a chair.  At least I had remembered to stick my feet into some shoes before I'd left the house.  How I ever forgot my pants was beyond me.

        Stunned, I stood for moment feeling utterly idiotic.  A lady behind me was unloading her cart onto the check-out belt seemingly oblivious to my presence.  From the customer service counter a store manager looked up at me and then returned his attention downward to some paperwork he'd been studying.

        "Do you have your Ralph's card?" the check-out clerk asked.

         For a moment I just stood there probably looking amazingly vacant and dumb until my feeling of stupidity turned into embarrassed humiliation.  "I'm sorry, I left my wallet at home."

         Avoiding looking at anyone, I left the store trying to appear as casual as I could but still be in a sort of hurry.  Fortunately, I had left my keys in my car and my car was not locked.  I got into my car as though nothing was unusual and began to drive back home.  This time I was not looking at other drivers.  I hoped that no one could see that I was driving without pants.  I especially hoped that I wouldn't see anyone who knew me.

        No neighbors were in sight when I pulled into the driveway and I scurried into the safety of my own home which is a verified no-pants zone if I want it to be.  Relieved to be inside, I heaved a deep breath and stood without thinking momentarily.  Then, slowly, like an old machine with giant gears and cogs, my mind started working again.

         I wouldn't go back to the store today.  We had plenty of stuff to last for days anyway.  I thought about what I should have for lunch later on and then for dinner that evening.  For now I'd go back upstairs and get on the computer.  Maybe there were some comments on my most recent blog post. I'd check on that.  Later I should probably vacuum since it had been a few days since I'd last done that.

       After the week-end I'd go grocery shopping. There would be more things I needed by then and this time I'd write an actual list.  Hopefully no one would remember about me having come in there before with no pants.  Come to think of it no one really seemed to notice that I wasn't wearing any pants.  I never heard a comment or saw anyone pointing and laughing or anything like that.  Probably no one even saw that I was not wearing pants.

       A man in the grocery store with no pants on.   Just another day in L.A.

   


-  

84 comments:

  1. I laughed myself silly over this, Lee! This sounds like a dream. Are you sure you weren't dreaming this whole incident? Thanks for the laughs to start the week off. I actually feel a little warmer now. :D

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    1. Now that I have my pants on I feel warmer too. I like starting the week off with a laugh.

      Lee

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  2. I think you would have got away with that entirely unnoticed Mr B had you not decided to mention it all in your blog. . . . This means your next visit to the supermarket will involve lots of folk saying . . . . I read the Blog . . . and winking at you in a knowing way while waving a banana. . . . .

    I think it may be best to move house.

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    1. I should be so lucky that people read my blog to the extent I would be recognized. But then again maybe I'll discover that people are reading my blog around here--no I don't know that people who know English around here.

      Hmmm--I usually do buy bananas whenever I go shopping.

      Lee

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  3. OMG Lee!!! BAHAHAHAHA Tell me that was a dream....PLEASE tell me that was a dream! That's hilarious! Of course yes, being LA and California in general, I'm sure if anyone noticed they just figured you were either nuts or meant to do that. You wouldn't have gotten a second look in San Francisco either. I tell ya, there was more than one occasion when I was halfway to work and had to look down to make sure I was wearing work pants and not pajama pants. I'm thinking maybe shop at Safeway the next few times before heading back to Ralph's. :D

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    1. The closest other grocery store to me is Fresh and Easy and a name like that could present entirely new implications. I see people dressed in pretty strange ways around here.

      Lee

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  4. Really? Come on, that had to be a dream. Although yes, it is possible to see people in the store with no pants and not think twice, especially in a Wal-Mart.

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    1. If I had gone to Walmart it might have made sense to undress for the occasion.

      Lee

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  5. I once had a dream that I was shopping naked in the grocery store. I remember being so embarrassed.

    As for your story, sounds like the normal thing to do in LA.

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    1. Those naked dreams are pretty weird--definitely something that would get attention even in L.A.--well, maybe not at Venice Beach.

      Lee

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  6. I'm thinking it really happened because while I didn't live in Los Angeles, I have lived in Laguna Niguel and then Murrieta and would stop at the store after walking the dog, usually around 8 a.m. before I started work at 8:30 and you described it perfectly; there's not much action that time of the morning at the stores. People in a rush to get something they might need for work or for their kids at school, a few others here and there, but pretty much empty. I can see you going through the store without too much notice and as short as the girls wear the shorts there, maybe people thought you were starting a new trend yourself.

    betty

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    1. The store traffic description is based on personal experience as that is when I do sometimes go shopping. The zombie metaphor works well in the grocery store too..

      Lee

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  7. lmao that was real? Wasn't it a little umm breezy with no pants? hahahaha maybe they all just thought it was a new style or you just came from Wal-Mart. You'd fit right in paintless there haha

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    1. Well I am in Los Angeles and it tends to be pretty warm compared to you folks back east. In Boston the lack of pants would have been probably noticed. By the way, I had to look up "imao"--yeah, I did.

      Lee

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  8. Lee, you really are kidding, right? Oh my goodness.

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    1. Well, one of my tags for this piece is "fiction". Besides if this had really happened I wouldn't be here to write this because I would have died from embarrassment.

      Lee

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  9. Oh my--I actually gasped and threw my hand over my mouth when I read this! I guess it was good that the grocery store wasn't busy, or maybe it just shows how oblivious people can be to things happening around them.

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    1. Oblivious is the key word here. Here I'm illustrating how we ourselves are so distracted by our thoughts and concerns that we become absented-minded, but we look around to see people texting and just wandering lost in thought and realize everyone else is pretty oblivious as well.

      Lee

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  10. That was a great build up to the reveal. I can see that being done as a short film. That would be awesome.

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    1. Maybe a future Oscar winning shorts subject? Or should we say a "brief film"?

      Lee

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  11. This is hilarious, and I second Andrew's 'short film' thing. Keep the camera above the waist until the checkout line. That would be fantastic.

    Also, sadly, in a place like L.A., I bet that wouldn't even be the top ten weirdest thing the checker had seen that day.

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    1. Okay, maybe I should tell my daughter to make this piece into a film. I'm not gonna volunteer to be the star of it though.

      Weirdest thing the checkers see? You should see some of the checkers!

      Lee

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  12. I thought you were going to end that with 'it was one of those dreams' people have where they're out in public without clothing. Amazing no one noticed but comforting too.

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    1. This certainly could be something that might happen in one of my crazy dreams, but in this case it was just a silly excursion into a writer what-if imaginary scenario.

      Arlee Bird
      A to Z Challenge Co-host
      Tossing It Out

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  13. You lived everyone's nightmare and survived. It's funny how people are in their own worlds and miss so much -- like a man without pants on.

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  14. Yes, I often don't notice things. We rush and are often preoccupied, but then sometimes that's good for us if we screw up.

    Lee

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  15. Pleased you had your pants on when I met you in LA. with all that travelling around that day you would have got plenty of strange looks, especially in Hollywood.

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    1. I might not have been paid much attention in Hollywood. With all the superhero characters they have there people might have thought I was just a street actor portraying Captain Underpants. Then there was that guy in the tighty-whities on the Oscar award show.

      Lee

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  16. I met some interesting characters when I worked as a bagger at Stop and Shop, but never anyone who came sans pants. I bagged for a woman whose hair was wrapped in a towel (and insisting she knew my family, even after I repeatedly told her that wasn't my name!), a guy who forgot his wallet and had to leave his two full carts while he and his kids went back home, an elderly Russian woman who didn't even have 99 cents to pay for severely-discounted groceries, and people who brought their little dogs (not service animals) along. Then there were the folks who dumped all sorts of interesting garbage in our parking lot, which I ran across while collecting carts.

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    1. When you deal with the public there's no telling what you'll run into. Something I haven't seen in a long time that I used to see every once in a while is women in curlers. Never did get going out in public like that.

      Lee

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  17. WOW...I've had dreams like that. How terrifying to actually do it. :)

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    1. Usually my fashion disaster dreams involve having two different shoes on while out in public. I have no idea what that's all about, but I've had that dream since high school. Maybe because it really did happen once when I was in high school and it felt really embarrassing to go around all day like that though I don't think anyone noticed.

      Lee

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  18. It seems Birdman has affected the men in the audience. And this could only have happened in CA. In Boston you'd have recognized your oversight when you opened the door of your house. Mirrors are helpful in situations like this. :-)

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    1. In Boston of late I'd probably felt like I had no pants on even if I were wearing two layers of pants. That cold can be mighty biting.

      Lee

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  19. Good thing you live in a big city where such things go unnoticed, Lee! ☺Most people have dreamt about this, but to do it in real life must have been so embarrassing.

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    1. Well, I hope this would never be something I'd actually do. It would be embarrassing. I can be mighty absent minded at times, but not usually about something this drastic.

      Lee

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  20. I definitely didn't expect that twist in the story :) We often see the craziest of people from US supermarkets being ridiculed at Facebook and Twitter with their funny photos, so I'm guessing you in the undies wasn't big of a miracle for other shoppers... or maybe you have a nice bum and they enjoyed the view :P

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    1. People would rather see a vagrant bum than my bum.

      Lee

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  21. LEE ~
    You had me at first.
    But when you got to the point where you said, "Fortunately, I had left my keys in my car and my car was not locked", I knew this was fiction.

    For one thing, it was just too "coincidental" that you would have left the keys in the ignition when you had no pants pockets to put them in.

    And secondly, Los Angeles, keys in the ignition, the doors unlocked, and the car was STILL in the parking lot when you returned to it? I don't think so!!!

    Ha! Pretty funny story though.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Yeah, I had to figure out what to do about the keys as I didn't want to carry them about the store. There was another option, but I just didn't want to go there--that would have turned this into a very different story.

      Thanks

      Lee

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  22. This story is so well told, I'm believing but not wanting to believe it. Yet you are acting as though it's true. So I do believe it. I grew up in LA, shopping with my Mom at Ralph's and Vons supermarkets. We have neither around here. But I don't think Vons still exists. At any rate, the sights I'm missing by not going to Ralph's...Alas, there's ALWAYS WalMart.

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    1. I guess Von's exists somewhere since we get the advertising supplements in the mail all the time, but for the life of me I'm not sure where those stores are. I used to go to a Von's that made great sandwiches in the deli department but now it's some kind of home improvement store. The grocery strikes a few years ago really changed the landscape where grocery stores are concerned. A lot of them closed. And then of course there's Walmart and Target stores and we can't forget Costco!

      Thank you for believing the story. Lot's of weird things happen in L.A. and I guess everywhere. Now you see people wearing pajamas everywhere so you can't use that as a weird story anymore.

      Lee

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  23. You're so funny! Look at all of us following a long blindly :)

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    1. I have so much serious credibility.

      Lee

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  24. HA! I think you know my feelings about pants, so I wholeheartedly endorse this. I am here in the frozen tundra in my 3rd month of having to double up on the evil things, so I will just express my envy...

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    1. Yes, if anyone would appreciate this story I figured it would be you. We've gone into a bit of a cold spell today. It's only going to be in the 60's---brrrr!

      Lee


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  25. I guess this broadens the maxim "Wear clean underwear in case you are in an accident'.

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    1. Or in case you so absent-minded as to go out absent pants.

      Lee

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  26. I think I can guess what movie you had been watching, or maybe it was just the spoof of said movie on the Academy Awards. Either way...YIKES!

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    1. Actually this came to mind a couple of weeks ago when I was making one of those grocery trips and daydreaming as I wandered through the aisles. I started thinking what if... and then the story came. I still not sure about the Birdman connection, but fitting that it is Bird Man.

      Lee

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  27. I didn't think that could be real. Even in LA, someone would call the cops. After your car was stolen of course.

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    1. Oh, I might imagine filing my stolen vehicle report in my underwear. At least I would be dressed in something.

      Lee

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  28. First thought- if you lived here in Indiana, you'd have never made it down the sidewalk without realizing something was amiss!

    Second thought- In a dream, the thing about the keys is not impassable. I have had a few dreams where I get out to the parking lot and can't find my car. So I tell myself, as it's a dream, just pick the best looking car and pretend you have a fob in your hand. If I am close enough to the threshold of waking, it works... but I usually wake up before I get too far in the car.

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  29. I was cringing for you. I've almost done that, and my husband assists me with dressing so that would be TWO people to not notice something so obvious. At least you had underwear on, my good man!

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    1. Two people not noticing is really extreme distraction!

      Lee

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  30. I believed every word. See how vulnerable I am!!! I read all the comments and saw that it was fiction. Duh. Gave me a real laugh. Right now it's 2 degrees here near Columbus OH. Freezing. Take care and enjoy that weather. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, when we retire, me too, we have to decide how we want or need to spend the retirement check. Not as much to play with.

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    1. Everyone takes me so serious. I should go into politics.

      Lee

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  31. Two ways that scenario could have gone Lee: totally ignored, or viral on FB/uTube.

    Ah, its made up. Well, maybe for you, but someone out there has done it :)

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    1. They have probably done it when I was there and I didn't even notice.

      Lee

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  32. Well I'll be darned! Everyone's worst nightmare! So, it happens but luckily for you no-one SEEMS to have noticed! I'm not sure if you're having us on ... I see some pretty strange things and am never sure if I'm really seeing this or if my mind is playing tricks ... blame it on geh weather maybe ... and thanks for the laugh!

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    1. With all the strange ways I see people dressed around here underwear in public could be just another fashion statement.

      Lee

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  33. I had a similar story in my Fiction in 50 (words) offering last month. I admit I took your story at face value, but then you are talking to someone who once dashed out of the front door in just her dressing gown to give the garbage to the bin men. As the front door snicked shut...
    ...my face changed...
    ... and the bin men all laughed!

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    1. If you'd gotten into your car and left the neighborhood like that then you might have really crossed the limit.

      Lee

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  34. Okay at first I really was wondering if this actually happened lol! This is one of the things I am so afraid of! Sometimes I will wear crazy shorts to bed or even my boyfriends boxers and they are so comfy there has been multiple moments I have almost walked out the door in just that. Luckily (well only in this scenario) it has been so cold out there is no way I would leave the house with less than 3 layers on!

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    1. Actually a woman in boxers might not be that noticeable and even a bit fashionable.

      Lee

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  35. I had a fifth grade student come to school in no pants once. He was wearing a long-ish t-shirt and didn't realize until he got to homeroom that he was only wearing his tighty-whities. No one had noticed because his t-shirt was long.

    He might have handled it discreetly, but he didn't. He came running up to my desk in a panic. "Mrs. Salerni, I have to call home! I forgot something!"

    "What did you forget, Chris?" I asked. If it was his band instrument, we were supposed to have them reschedule his lesson rather than use the office phone. This was in the days before cell phones.

    "My pants!" he yelled, yanking up his shirt to show me.

    I blinked. "Yes, Chris. For that, you can use the office phone."

    Still one of my funniest teaching days ever.

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    1. That is hilarious. I think some kids just wear their underwear while they're at home and might not notice the difference that much. Then again kids can be pretty unobservant. It's amazing his parents let him go out the door this way, but these days a lot of kids are on their own.

      Lee

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  36. Lol. Sounds like you had a kind of productive day.

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    1. If it comes to producing nonsense, I can be very productive on a regular basis.

      Lee

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  37. Ha! I thought this only happened in fiction! I enjoyed this immensely. It actually sounds like a creative non-fiction piece or short story waiting to happen. I would definitely read more!

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    1. Because of some previous comments I suggested to my daughter that she make a short film based on story. Maybe after her she has her baby in July. But then she'll probably be busy with kids.

      Lee

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  38. This gave me a great chuckle, Lee. In our house, it really is a no-pants zone. At least for my boys. I had to start telling them, "Hey guys, time to put some shorts over your boxers." They didn't understand until they got older but we still say they love to "no pants it"

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  39. Oh Lee! That had to be mortifying. I kept waiting for you to say "And then I woke up." But you didn't! At least you didn't go to Walmart because then you'd end up on "People of Walmart".

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    1. I went shopping at Walmart this morning and everyone looked relatively normal--well, for the most part when I was paying attention.

      Lee

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  40. OK this was hilarious and at first i thought you were having the beginning stages of Old timer's disease but then I noticed "fiction" in your responses so felt relieved but you would have fit right in at Wal-Mart..or at the Oscars with Harris:) Funny because we took my ex out for his birthday and he used to work at radio Shack. he recalled a young girl gasping and running away while he was dealing with a customer. he then noticed the customer, a man, had his pants on with a rope for a belt and the zipper was down. He had on no underwear and was letting Willie be free as a bird

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    1. No doubt that there are some weird in a bad way people in the world. I may be weird but hopefully not bad weird.

      Lee

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  41. What a story Lee! So vivid, I felt like I was watching a movie. You sure this happened or was it a very lucid dream? Embarrassing as it may be, glad you kept it cool. Plus it makes for a great post! Also, if you started freaking out and drew attention to your slip, the people around you would have acted in kind. Hmmm I wonder if I should go shopping without my pants now... What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right?

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    1. If you go shopping without pants, please write up a blog post about what happens so we'll know the real story about this sort of thing.

      Lee

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  42. I was buying this as reality for quite a while, but sorry... as soon as you said you were sans pantalones I knew it was fiction. I don't know you personally, but you are very smart and very aware, and you are not suffering from dementia, hence there is no way in hell you'd be pantsless. Riding in the car with legs stretched before you would have provided the first clue.

    Good, engaging tale though!

    I much prefer WOMEN in stores without pants. Or shirts. Actually, years ago I went to the Del Mar Fair (now called the Southern California Exposition, I think), and witnessed a very tall and gorgeous 30 year old blonde walking through the crowds. She had a giant fake diamond glued in her navel and was wearing NO shirt at all, but was holding twin babies suckling at her breasts. It sounds like total BS, but I had a friend with me who witnessed it with me. You can use that for your next naked tale!

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    1. You have me pegged for the most part, but I am definitely prone to thinking about ridiculous things sometimes, especially while doing mundane activities like shopping.

      The sight you saw at the fair sounds most unusual. Now that's more like a dream!

      Lee

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Lee