The workshop for humor writing, human interest writing, networking and getting published

Erma Bombeck Wrighters' Workshop Banner

You can run, but can’t hide, from a squeaky wheel

Depending on the day, a shopping trip to Target can be about as fun as cleaning the toilet on a Saturday morning before your first cup of coffee.

Interestingly, a quick glance of someone’s cart contents might reveal the truth of the person pushing the cart. In my cart, this particular day, you’d probably see a bottle of wine wedged somewhere between the chocolate and Metamucil.

Trying to forget my numerous irritations, I continued checking things off the list when in the far distance between frozen foods and the bread aisle I hear the consistent sound of squeaking.

Deciding between a small or large loaf of high-fiber bread, I was distracted with the irritating squeak, squeak, squeaking sound. My eyes shifted the aisle to see if anyone else was agitated by the ear-piercing squeal motoring its way towards the bread aisle.

I reached for the bread that promises a fiber-rich cleansing, when a motorized cart squeals around the corner with its senior driver at the helm wearing a sweatshirt proclaiming he was the “World’s Best Grandpa.” Clearly, he was oblivious to the rusty wheel screeching its high pitch of despair when asking the Target employee, “Where’s the Pepsi?”

I had already wandered off and was heading in that exact direction of the beverage aisle when I heard World’s Best Grandpa” kick his motor scooter into high gear, restarting the rusty squeal all over again.

A flash in my peripheral vision noticed that “Go Cart Gramps” overshot his destination and screeched by the beverage aisle. Discovering this, he immediately did a U turn in his motor buggy, creating a grating and falsetto sound.

FINALLY, heads turned with displeasing looks, and I wasn’t the only one with ringing eardrums. “Geriatric Mario Andretti” was going all NASCAR in Target and wreaking havoc in every grocery aisle he rolled through. This “World’s Worst Driver” didn’t have a clue his calamity cart was driving Target shoppers to the edge. Or, was it just me?

Next, I escaped to the household section for a pretty candle that could be added to my midlife survival kit, wherein were the sweet sounds of NOTHING and the solitude scent of lemon lavender.  Far off in the distance “Mayhem Mario” was annoying other poor souls and possibly looking for a can of WD40!

Meanwhile, I was dipping my nose in the aroma of Tahitian Vanilla and relishing the serenity when, unbelievably, the moment was invaded with that recognizable sound.

If you were standing next to me, you would’ve noticed the shock and awe look on my face. I barely got my nose out of Tahiti, when I looked towards the end of the aisle and like a buzz saw was Target’s new NASCAR nuisance screaming by with wheel wailing in high throttle.

Was “World’s Most Annoying Gramps” out to get me?

I did what any annoyed premenopausal woman would do. I BUSTED out laughing!

There I stood alone in Target’s candle aisle laughing myself to tears. I was doubled over, trembling with laughter. I knew I had to compose myself, so I managed to pull myself together, escape the candle aisle in an upright position and safely make it to the checkout line.

While unloading my survival necessities, it dawned on me that my shoulders felt lighter, my head felt euphoric, and the tightness in my chest was gone.

Thanks toWorld’s Best Grandpa,” he eventually helped me forget my irritations with a good resounding belly laugh.

Surprisingly, there’s nothing better than the medicine of laughter to improve your disposition and ease your squeaky wheel.

— Laurie Oien

Laurie Oien is a wife and mother living in Minnesota and determined to uncover the second half of life with zest and zeal. She has a background in marketing and accounting for the last 25 years and recently discovered that one can’t live by adding machines and numbers alone. Therefore, she created a humorous lifestyle blog. Laurie has been a contributor to Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and Midlife Boulevard. Also, she’s a featured author in the anthology, Feisty After 45, released by Mills Park Publishing. Laurie blogs at A Square of Chocolate.

Reflections of Erma