The grocery store is my favorite venue, because she walks on ahead and lets me follow pushing the shopping cart, while she puts things in it, and I can not only use the cart as a walker to keep from falling down, but command some respect from smaller people, and occasionally have a chance to slip something especially yummy into the cart when she’s not looking, such as a bottle of olives for my olive and cream cheese sandwich, a hunk of sweet salami, or a bag of beef jerky to keep my teeth in place.

Dan King photo

As a bonus, pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles affords a sense of camaraderie with the other men, also pushing a shopping cart behind their own shopping expert. In passing another shopping cart coming the other way, we sometimes give each other the men’s shopping cart high-sign, which is a raised, clenched, left fist, just as the guys on motorcycles do, where the right hand operates the throttle and front-wheel brake lever and the left hand operates the clutch, leaving the left hand mostly free to wave “Me too!” and “Gotcha!”

The unspoken message here, between us shopping cart pushers, is a pretty simple one, and just acknowledges, “I push, she picks, I pay, she cooks, and we eat it all together. Bringing-home the bacon as a team, that’s family togetherness, and it’s great for self-content, world peace and happiness.”

However, the feigned innocence of some women shoppers, also pushing a shopping cart, stuns me every time. Most women are not like this, but there are a few who seem to think, that if they pretend they don’t see me and my shopping cart, while our shopping carts are on a collision course, that I’ll get out of the way to avoid the collision. It’s like the game of “chicken” that teen-age drivers in cars on the road are said to play as the sap begins to rise in the spring and graduation is looming on the horizon.

Well, I always end up being “the chicken,” and that’s because I was raised to show respect and care for women, children and the elderly. I have been trained to yield.

I have considered feigning a good, screaming fall to the floor just before the collision, hoping maybe that would cure the offending female, but haven’t wanted to risk having the manager dial 911 and get me an unnecessary trip to the hospital at my expense. I’m just going to continue to play the chicken out of deference and respect for women, children and the elderly, and save the hospital trip for when I really need it.

Orrin Frink is a Kennebunkport resident. He can be reached at [email protected]

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