A Not So Glorious Quest

     Today, my significant other wanted to cook dinner in a crockpot. While he is an expert with this cooking device, I have never used a crockpot. But I am an expert at minimizing messes. So, the crockpot needed a liner. At least, that’s what my friends told me. So, I went to the store in search of crockpot liners.
     Initially, I thought Lady Luck was on my side. I got the first parking spot, next to the handicapped spot. Bonus! This was going to be a quick in-and-out shopping experience. A piece of cake.
     As I entered the store, there was an enormous display of crockpots of all makes and sizes. I thought it was weirdly coincidental. But alas, the display lacked liners. But that was okay. I figured they would be in the paper products aisle with the aluminum foil and oven bags. So, I made a beeline for the paper products aisle.
     When I reached the spot where the liners should have been, the shelf was empty. Everything else on that shelf was fully stocked. An employee was behind me.
     I said, “I’m looking for crockpot liners. Do you know if you have any more?”
     She replied, “They took them and put them up front. Look in the baking display.”
     I thanked her and headed for the baking display. There were no liners to be found.
     Another employee asked, “Can I help you?”
     “I’m looking for crockpot liners.”
     “Did you look in the paper products aisle?”
     “Yes. The lady there told me they should be here.”
     “They’re not.”
     Duh. “I know.”
     “Let me see if there are any in back.”
     My mind decided to start singing, The Impossible Dream.

     To dream the impossible dream
     To fight the unbeatable foe
     To bear with unbearable sorrow
     To run where the brave dare not go

     After several minutes, I knew she wasn’t coming back.
     In the meantime, I counted four endcaps that had crockpots on them. Four endcaps! What’s the deal on crockpots? Why was every make and model on sale? Was this God’s way of taunting me? Or was I on an episode of The Twilight Zone?
     I trudged up toward the front of the store. I wasn’t ready to give up yet. They were pushing crockpots hard. Those liners had to be somewhere. And by God, I was going to find them!

     This is my quest
     To follow that star
     No matter how hopeless
     No matter how far

     I approached an older employee who was stocking the Christmas section. She looked as if she was a seasoned employee. No pun intended! And I wanted to slow down Christmas from coming to the store. I mean really! It’s November 2nd. Anyway …
     “Excuse me, can you tell me where the crockpot liners are?”
     “Did you look in the paper products aisle?”
     ”Yes. The lady there told me they were in the baking area. They weren’t.”
     “Hold on. Let me check.”
     She proceeded to use the radio clipped to her blue smock to ask if anyone knew the whereabouts of the crockpot liners.
     The first response: “Check the paper aisle.”
     I sighed heavily.
     The second: “Check the baking display.”
     I rolled my eyes.
     Thirdly: “We’re out. We don’t have any.”
     I threw up my hands in exasperation.
     The radio chatter ceased.
     She said, “Sorry. Guess we don’t have any.”
     I thanked her and walked away. But I was not done yet.

     To fight for the right
     Without question or pause
     To be willing to march into Hell
     For a heavenly cause

     I walked around and searched every single display in the front of the store. And dum-da-da-dum! Success! I found the stupid liners on a display between two registers.

     And the world will be better for this
     That one (wo)man, scorned and covered with scars
     Still strove with her last ounce of courage
     To reach the unreachable star!

     Thrilled with my victory, I skipped back to the lady in the Christmas section. “I found the liners. They’re between two registers two aisles over.”
     She smiled. “Glad you found them.”
     The song, Celebration, by Kool & the Gang, came on the radio on the drive home. I cranked it up and sang along. Hey, I was happy after all of that.
     I walked in the door and proudly handed him the box of liners. “You won’t believe what I had to go through to find these.”
     Sheepishly, he said, “Um. I didn’t wait. I started already without one.”
     Oh, my God! Are you freaking kidding me?
     Without uttering a word, I walked away. At that moment, only extremely colorful language would have come out of my mouth. And being the good Catholic girl that I am, and since today is All Souls Day, I thought it best to keep my mouth shut.

Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Purewal

With the exceptions of excerpts from “The Impossible Dream”
From the Man of La Mancha
Music by Mitch Leigh, Lyrics by Joe Darion

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