There’s a checkout guy at my local Target named Carl. He’s a little on the slow side. Very friendly. Too friendly, in fact.
He pays close attention to my every purchase, and knows each of my children – if not by name, by face. A few years ago I bought a pregnancy test. Every checkout person knows the golden rule of being a proper checkout person is to never comment on things like pregnancy tests or tampons or condoms or medications or anything having to do with a person’s sex parts.
Carl doesn’t follow the golden rule.
He excitedly asked me about the test. Was I trying to get pregnant? Do I want more kids? How old are my kids? When was the first day of my last menstrual period? (Just kidding about that last one, but it was a near thing.) I answered him with a vague, “It’s in God’s hands,” and went on my merry way. Carl rings up hundreds of people a day. I figured my pregnancy test purchase would blend into the background of the thousands of products that beeped across his scanner. I was wrong.
Every. Single. Time. I end up in Carl’s line at the checkout, he grills me about my kids and reproductive plans. Today he commented on the fact that he has only ever seen me without at least one kid twice in all the years he’s been working there. Am I having more kids? Do I want more? Will I be trying again soon? Am I trying NOW?
Carl is slow, as I mentioned, so he’s not very adept at picking up on social cues. My horrified blank stare, my confused frown, all of these go unnoticed. I don’t think anything short of me making an ugly, uncomfortable scene is going to stop Carl from inquiring about my lady parts. Where’s Rick Grimes when you need him? He’s the best at putting Carls in their places.
Jesse just asked me why I don’t just avoid Carl and go to a different checkout line. Gee, why didn’t I think of that?
Actually, the answer is sad and pathetic. Due to my fucking face blindness, I can’t tell it’s Carl until he starts asking me about my uterus. He’s of average height and average build. There’s nothing about him that stands out for me to remember him by. I try to use the checkout lines with women, but sometimes it’s too crowded.