Grand Theft Soft Fruit

April 13, 2010

If you had been watching me yesterday at one of our local supermarkets you might have been puzzled by my behaviour in the fruit and vegetable department. As I rounded the corner between the soft fruit and salad greens areas I suddenly froze. And I remained frozen in  mid stride for several minutes. I had not suffered any form of paralysis, or heart attack, or any other health threat. The cause of my arrest was nothing so ordinary. No, far more interesting and entertaining. I was a witness to a crime. Barely a few steps from me a man was casually helping himself to grapes and eating them right there in the aisle as if the soft fruit department were a dessert buffet. He was focusing on the yellow grapes when I first caught sight of him. An older man, I would have guessed late seventies or eighties, pushing  the standard cart containing only one of those thick aluminum walking sticks.  Dressed in jeans and pullover, white hair. His technique was to get close to the table where the grapes were laid out in their mesh plastic bags. Standing very close his hand would slowly creep over the edge of the table, push a bag open and snag a few grapes. Now and then he would look up from his task but not around.  Munching he walked slowly on. making a circuit of the other tables and the adjacent bread, jelly and dry goods section, before he reappeared to settle alongside the red grapes and resume grazing for a minute or two. He seemed quite oblivious to my presence and there were only a few other shoppers who whizzed by on the errands. As I stood and watched him I began to think. Is he hungry? if so why not something more substantial? Is he with someone and they have told him to drift while they go shopping in earnest.  Does he do this often? Am I the only one to notice? Should I do anything? How soon will it be before I am so careless of my reputation that I cruise the supermarket aisles filching foodstuffs. As he shuffled off to wherever he was going I regained my step and resumed my own errand with a mental note never to buy grapes without checking the bag.


2 Responses to “Grand Theft Soft Fruit”

  1. Paul said

    Hi there, Bob. This is just a note to inform you that I have been surreptiously watching you as you wend your way through the aisles of interesting anecdotes and observations, sampling this and that as you go, but – unlike your senior grape-filcher – leaving linguististic delicacies behind. Am I the only one to notice?

    • bobsterry said

      Hello, Paul. Loitering in the crowded and confused aisles of language and words is not yet a crime in our world, but the extreme condition may have a name. Brysonism. After the humorous wirter, journalist and traveler Bill Bryson.

      Now that you have ‘come out’, as it were, I will always be sensing your gaze over my shoulder in this curious space.


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