The line to check out was long, at least six people deep and no cashier in sight. The lady at the front kept turning around and apologizing that she'd needed a price check on her can of furniture polish. Personally, I would have told them not to worry about it — the furniture's waited this long, one more day won't hurt it — but apparently she wanted to dust. So we waited. I shifted my quart of milk from one hand to the other.
The girl in the front of me sighed.
"There's nothing worse than waiting in line," she said out loud. Was she talking to me? I wasn't sure, so I didn't respond and instead kept my eyes on the National Enquirer on the rack in front of me. So J.Lo wants to get back with Marc Anthony. Interesting. A photo on the front of another tabloid teased readers to guess which pictures of cellulite ridden thighs and buttocks belonged to which celebrities. I was dying to pick that one up, but resisted the urge.
Apparently, the man in front of her thought she was talking to him.
"Yeah," he said. "Nothing worse than standing in line."
Interesting. I can think of a lot of worse things than standing in line. Granted, I don't particularly enjoy it, but I'd take standing in line over being mauled by a bobcat any day. Or having a root canal. Or eating dirt. And let's just get it out of the way that it goes without saying that there are far, far things even much worse like death and destruction, sickness, famine, poverty… and so much more.
But they'd given me food for thought, my non-acquaintances there in the check-out line had. I'm guilty of resorting to the old "There's nothing worse than" mantra myself. Everyone has their moments, I have no doubt. Aside from all the things that go without saying, to me there's nothing worse than….
Someone who loves to tell everyone that they are a great driver, and they're not.
Finding mayonnaise on your sandwich after you've driven off from the drive-thru when you specifically asked for none.
Realizing you have on two different shoes.
Pulling on a black shirt and getting white deodorant stains all over it.
Having to sneeze, but can't.
Throwing gum out the car window and having it fly back in and hit you in the face.
Realizing you just used someone else's toothbrush.
Telling a supermarket employee that you've looked all over the store for olives and could they please tell you where you can find them and they point to the shelf behind you.
Falling off your bicycle in the middle of traffic.
Receiving not one, not two, but three phone calls in the middle of the night from someone asking if they can speak to Rufus.
Falling off of a broken toilet seat.
Running in the rain while wearing rubber flip flops.
Stepping in gum.
Walking around half the day with a Cheerio stuck to your neck and no one bothered to tell you.
Texting someone "I love the shirts!" but leaving out the r by mistake.
Having your pants on backwards and not realizing it until you get home.
A paper cut on your tongue.
And yes, there's nothing worse than someone who starts sentences with, "There's nothing worse than." I know. That one's a given.
By the time I got to the front of the line I realized I'd exhausted thinking of a good bit of my "there's nothing worse than" experiences. At least, I thought so.
There's nothing worse than getting to the front of the grocery store check-out line you've been waiting in for 10 minutes and realizing you left your wallet in the car.
I told the cashier not to worry about it. The cereal's been dry for this long, it can wait another day.
There's a lot worse things than dry cereal, that's for sure.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.