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As we stood in the grocery line, I had a sudden thought. “Oh!” I said to my husband, “you take these. I forgot — ” and I was off and running. Okay, off and hobbling; my back is still pretty tender, but there I was, loping my way through the aisles toward the toiletries section…

… through the two shoppers whose carts were stopped, head-to-head and crossways blocking the wide aisle while they caught up on their gossip
… stopping short to avoid the dithering little lady with the overfilled cart, who wavered first one way, then another, grazing me on each side as she adjusted
… slinking through between one fellow who was doing recon on the shortest line, and his companion, who was pushing a full cart (and that was my bad, guys — sorry!)
… and into the Feminine Care aisle, only to discover
… a suited fellow standing there, facing me but blankly staring off into space, his body completely blocking the one shelf to which I needed access.

“Excuse me.”

No response.

Ahem. A little louder. “Excuse me, sir.”

Not a blink.

A-hem. “Sir, I just need to get to that shelf.” Nothing. “I just need to get to the TAMPONS, they’re right behind you.”

It was as if somebody flipped his “on” switch: he started, he glanced at me and then away, he flushed a becoming pink, and he skittered out of the corner where he was standing as if he’d been shocked, averting his eyes from me the entire time, because I had uttered the word tampons. I might as well have hollered VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA.

And next time, I will.

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