Supermarket sweep

I might have been a heavy machine gunner, but I'd never learned the ancient art o fhow to wield a trolley as a weapon.

supermarket 88 (photo credit: )
supermarket 88
(photo credit: )
I've just got back from my weekly shop at the supermarket on Rehov Hapalmah and it's as though I'm suffering from shell shock - wide-eyed, struggling to breathe and sweating profusely. Why? Because no one told me I'd be like Daniel in the lion's den if I went shopping at nine in the morning. In fact, I wasn't as lucky as Daniel - he escaped unscathed, with a pride of lions subdued and calmed in his wake. I, on the other hand, incurred the wrath of scores of elderly, impatient shoppers - and barely got out of the store alive. (I'm not exaggerating - and I've been on the sharp end of this type of fury before. During my gap year in 1999, as I sat on a near-empty bus on the way to town, an elderly man took umbrage at my foot resting on the seat in front of me and viciously beat me with his stick. I was restrained from reacting by my friends, "he fought for this country" - well, so did I - and now I'm fighting terror on another front - namely at Mister Zol in Katamon…) I strolled up to the entrance, all well in my world, and decided to break with tradition and get myself a cart rather than stagger around the store with my purchases in my arms. Big mistake - once you have a cart, you become a far more visible target for the militant thugs who masquerade as Shabbat shoppers. Plus, it was plain for all the seasoned aisle-trekkers to see that I was a novice in this world - and thus easy prey for their savagery. The first flashpoint ignited at the front door - the security-conscious owners having decided in their wisdom to only allow a five foot gap for people to enter and exit through. This meant waiting patiently until a space opened up - or so I thought. As I bided my time, those behind me started to harry and hustle me using their carts as weapons so that they could overtake me in the quest to get in. The scene was starting to look like the surge for the last helicopter out of Hanoi, except with more urgency and worse manners. I did what I always do when I'm looking to take the moral high ground - turned around and told my assailants where to go in no uncertain terms - fight fire with fire, and all that… Wound up and ready for battle, I slammed my way into the fruit and vegetable section, swearing not to be intimidated by these white-haired combatants. That sentiment vanished within seconds, as I was surrounded and penned in by hostile shoppers. All my combat training in Nahal was useless in the face of such an encounter - I might have been a heavy machine gunner, but I'd never learned the ancient art of how to wield a cart as a weapon. I turned tail and fled to the relative safety of the toiletries aisle. Pausing for breath, I looked around me and planned my escape. I only had 10 things that I needed to buy, so I figured I could be out of the shop within five minutes if I was nimble. Well, I was nimble - but I can't say the same for all those present. I thought it wouldn't appear rude if I politely asked one woman if she would "sliha, bevakasha" - however, the barrage of abuse (and canned vegetables) I received in return made me think my breach of supermarket protocol was only going to get me into even deeper waters. So I switched. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Enraged and full of self-righteous ire, I hardened my resolve and proceeded to smash my way through the barricades. I rammed stationary carts, I purposely caught people with the edge of my cart to knock them out of my path - and it felt good. Revenge is sweet. Arms raised in triumph like a champion heavyweight, I made my way to the checkout in the certainty that the war was won. However - as King Saul found out to his chagrin when he didn't annihilate Amalek when he had the chance - my efforts, while valiant, were just short of what was needed. As I waited on line, a final assault on me and my cart was launched. I was blindsided - as I loaded my purchases onto the conveyor belt, I was hammered from behind by a particularly sour-faced shopper, who succeeded in entangling my cart with the sweet display next to it - in distress, I remembered one bit of army training that never let me down before - the old Glasgow Kiss. I leaned towards the woman, as though I was about to whisper something to her, then planted a vicious headbutt right on the bridge of her nose…. OK - I didn't get my shopping, I did get arrested, I don't have a leg to stand on - but I don't care. There's a point where logic goes out the window, when your back's against the wall and it's all about taking a stand. I took that stand - and I'd do it again.