Monday, September 5, 2011

Putting the Cart Before the Horse…

In 2000, after living on my own in various boroughs of New York City for several years, I got a boost in my career as a newspaper reporter and moved to Schenectady, NY, which is a hop, skip and a jump north of the state capital, Albany.
Though I’d been living independently for more than five years, I’d never been so far from my parents. Now I was really “going it alone.”
That meant that household chores and repairs which I’d once left to Mom or Dad were mine to manage. Chief among them, was grocery shopping.
I was well equipped physically to take on this task germane to running a household – I had money and a car – but mentally/emotionally, I’m not sure I was ready. You be the judge….
One day, after having purchased my food and sundries for the week, I was in the store parking lot when I saw two boys, each around 17 years old, walking in my direction and talking.
I couldn't make out exactly what they were saying, but as they got closer, the salient point of the conversation became clear. One said to the other, “… and I’ll take her cart.”
My big-city living reflexes kicked into high gear. Holy cow! These kids were going to steal my groceries in broad daylight and what’s more, they were being totally blasé about discussing their crime!
I was furious and terrified at the same time. So, mustering every ounce of courage I had, I crossed my arms over my chest and, eyes flashing fire and ice, took a step towards them. In my hardest, most fear-inducing tone of voice, I said, “Can I help you?”
It took a moment for my challenge-cum-threat veiled as a question to register, but when it did, one of the young men said, “No Ma’am, thank you. We’re here to help you. After you've unloaded your bags, we’ll take your cart back to the store for someone else to use.”
After breathing a sigh of relief, I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!

Written for The Writers’ Post weekly blog hop # 12. Theme: Use the word “salient” along with the photo entitled, “Fire and Ice."


  1. Daphne!! This was excellent take on this week's topic. You had me going there too! Aww--weren't those boys sweet? he he--Cheers, Jenn.

  2. You totally had me. Great story on these prompts. You gave me a good belly laugh.

  3. You totally had me too. I was sure those two were up to no good!! Great story!


  4. I had a similar kind of experience when a group of youths were hanging around my bank and laughing when I was going to the ATM one evening. I was very suspicious of them and gave them a wide berth. It turned out they were fooling around with an empty coke bottle on a long piece of string, lowering it from a a street light in front of unsuspecting passers-by, much to everyone's amusement. Innocent fun - yet I had misjudged them simply because they LOOKED suspicious. All goes to show you shouldn't always judge by appearances.

  5. Cool anecdote, Daph. Guess it pays to remember the old saying about not judging a book by its appearance. My best friend is long-haired, wears scruffy (but clean) clothes and would easily fall into the 'yoof' category so feared by many older people. All they see is someone who might accost them, rob them, be into drugs. What they don't see is the shy guy who apologises at the slightest thing, is exquisitely polite and the best friend anyone could ever have. I learned long ago to forget about appearance and discover the person before making forming any kind of opinion and you know... I've met the best kind of people that way. Certainly more interesting than the appearance obsessed ones! Thanks for sharing <|:o))