Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stolen Beer


I'm a man! And this is not intended as a boasting statement of some extraordinary virility, oh no. It's about being a man caught in one of his chores: going to the supermarket to buy the bare necessities. Of course, it all begins with a list. Exclusively made by my wife. And she always ends the list with a question:

"Do you have anything else to write it down?"

"No, that's fine", I add it not even looking at what's written down.



I know what I want and that doesn't need a list, come on, how difficult can it be? So here I am in the supermarket, trying to finish off the list first. Of course I don't have a pen with me to scratch off the items, I'm a man, I can remember what I bought. Surprisingly, the list bears the same items all the time, easy to get them: things, things, bread, things, milk, things. And not surprising at all, I never manage to buy everything that's on it.

Anyway, after about the half of the items, I think I'm done and I get to my stuff, the off-list ones. A bottle of Merlot, Australian of South African, preferably from a good year. This has to be assorted with a bottle or two of Shiraz, from the same region, to ensure the continuation of the taste building. Depending on the season, some Chardonnay might also find its place in among the things. Then I go quickly to another aisle where I find a few sorts of abbey beer. I choose the one with the best known fermentation process and with a hint of yeast in its taste that would make you crying out for more. On the way to the cash register I stop by and take another crate of beer, the watery type. Just in case.

The crates have to be placed somehow under the trolley. For the rest, the routine is simple: you inform the cashier that you have some crates under, she hands in a sticker reading "paid" and you place it on one of the bottles, so everyone will know that you've paid for the stuff. I'm always reminding myself to tell them about the beer, but once or twice a year I forget. I just forget. I realise that when I'm placing the groceries in the boot of my car. Shall I feel bad about it? Not at all, it amuses me, and not because I'm trying to excel in the shop lifting business, but it reminds me of some good time in Barcelona. Not that I was backpacking or so (if you're not familiar with Friends, please skip the joke).

Well, a few years back, in Barcelona, we were lying on the beach enjoying the late May sun, amazed that we didn't have to wear any jacket and boots at the seaside at that time of the year. The beach was teeming with, let's call them independent entrepreneurs with quite a strong call-centre English accent. They were selling beer and they did that diligently, fully dressed at 30 degrees Celsius - only for that and they deserved the money - presenting their merchandise in a far from shy manner:

"Iiiiiceeee col' beeeeer, iiiiice col' beeeeer!"

After a few good minutes of monotonous but persistent loud offer, my wife, who was about to doze off a bit, raised her head from the towel and asked me in great bewilderment:

"What's that guy saying? 'I stole beer?'"

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