The Mos Eisley Cantina in the Pirate City of Kalamazoo on the Planet Michigan

I recently went to a Meijer’s grocery store near Kalamazoo, Michigan. If you’re not familiar, Meijer’s is notorious for carrying everything–it’s a super store with all manner of goods and groceries–and for low prices. It’s also notorious for the clientele it attracts, but they are not all bad. Now I think I’m one of the bad ones.

My wife once went into a Meijer’s on the south side of Lansing, Michigan, and as she loaded our infant son into a shopping cart, two young men burst into the store in a sprint. Two policemen chased them into the grocery section, and out the side door.

I once stopped at a Meijer’s around 1:00 am and, as I walked inside, watched as a limousine pulled up to the front door and two young ladies staggered out of the limo and vomited in the parking lot.

This past Saturday, I went to Meijer’s because I hungered for ice cream. I was running errands, and decided to buy myself a half gallon of ice cream and eat it in the parking lot. It was a painfully hot day in the high nineties, and the ice cream had begun to melt before I found a plastic spoon in my glove box.  I leaned against my car and spooned my face full of Neapolitan, thoroughly enjoying the experience.

A woman pushed a cart full of groceries past me and said, “You are as bad as my daughter.” Judging from this woman’s looks, I thought her daughter might be around my age. (I’m in my forties, but sometimes look younger than that.)

“Maybe she and I would make a nice pair,” I said. “You should introduce us.”

She shook her head. “My daughter is eleven.”

I nodded. “Have her call me in four years.”

* * *

My mistake was that, in truth, I did not say that last line. It didn’t occur to me until several minutes later. I had merely muttered, “Never mind,” and avoided eye contact with the woman.

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