Handbaskets! Get your handbaskets here! Handbaskets! Handbaskets!
I rushed right home from town this noon, to set the wheels in motion for a renewed effort to get my proposed handbasket factory up and running. The end is surely near. Computers have taken over Hillmomba!
The Pony and I stopped by Subway to pick up some lunch. We were between waves of the after-church crowd. Only two people were ahead of us, a matronly woman and an old man in overalls who talked to the counter girls like he hadn't spoken to anybody for a month. They were polite and patient with him. Food construction went on without a glitch.
I noticed the Matron step off to the side. The register lady told her, "It may take a few minutes. I'll have to work on it." I thought nothing of it. Maybe she had a special order. We watched The Pony's mini cheese pizza get baked. Farmer H's cold-cut trio was slapped together. My tuna salad was dipped and plopped. The old overall man winked at the girls and thanked them, then tromped past us in his brogans, swinging his sandwich in the plastic bag. We moved along the counter for veggie-adding. The Pony asked for two cookies. And then all not-heaven broke loose.
Our food sat on the counter in front of us, by the register, marinating in a plastic bag. The pizza was getting cold, the sandwiches were getting hot, and the cookies were looking over their shoulder in fear of that just-right freak, Goldilocks. Register Lady kept poking the machine. She asked for a password. She asked what Matron had ordered. I was next in line. Ready to pay. My wad of bills already in hand. Behind me, customers were piling up like the marching band in the alley during the homecoming parade in Animal House.
"I hate computers. It's not working. What should I do? I DID try to reboot. Ma'am, it's still working on it." She looked at me. "If this comes up, I'll have to do hers first." I backed up. Made The Pony step away from the counter. Matron stood her ground over by the windows. A line of bagged food stretched out behind ours. The second wave of church-goers flooded in. There must have been six customers behind us. That's a lot for the Hillmomba Subway.
A calculator sat beside the register. I wanted SO badly to say, "Just give me that calculator and tell me the prices. I'll add it up and figure the tax." But I did not. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is all about proper decorum when out in public. I made do with a heavy sigh. I turned to The Pony. "I hope you enjoy cold pizza." By this time, we had been at an impasse for ten minutes.
The Register Lady kept poking the computer. She turned to the two sandwich-makers. "What should I do?" Thank goodness, a recent Newmentia graduate was in charge.
"Ma'am? You can just take yours. It's okay." Matron stepped up for her food and her credit/debit/plastic card.
"Are you paying cash?" Register Lady was ready to get this show on the road. If I was a thinking woman, or, perhaps, a cheat, I would have lied that I only had plastic. Free food, you know. But I was honest. I flipped my wad as proof. Register Lady panicked. "But how do I get the drawer open for change?"
"You push the button to open the drawer." Thank the Gummi Mary our Newmentia grad had it covered. The computer had nothing to do with the register itself, only with the card-verification.
Twenty-year-old Newmentia grads rule Hillmomba.