Yesterday I found myself wandering the aisles at Home Depot, looking for a butane torch. Thomas had agreed to make me crème brulee, which is possibly one of my favorite desserts of all time. Earlier in the day he had baked a Chicago style deep dish pizza from scratch. He was in a real baking mood, and as any self-respecting mother would do, I fostered this idea wholeheartedly. When I tell people this, they just fall over themselves at how awesome it must be to be the recipient of his culinary experiments. They’re not wrong. It’s really awesome.
The little-known downside is that I am also the purchaser of all ingredients and kitchen tools needed to make such delights. I lucked out because we had the cast iron skillet needed for the pizza, but I wasn’t as lucky on the crème brulee. Once he got hip deep in making the delicacy, we realized after a quick search of the kitchen that we had no torch for the top. What turn of events led me to think we already had one, I’ll never know. We didn’t own one at all.
That’s how I found myself wandering around Home Depot asking people where the torches were. I was wearing Star Wars pajama pants and a pink jacket at the time, so I looked incredibly legit. One guy in the home depot vest directed me to the “end of aisle 11”. I walked backed down to aisle 11. There, on the bottom I found rows of cans of butane. The torches themselves hung on the top shelf. They may as well have been hanging in Canada. I read the descriptions in detail, wanting to know for sure which one I needed before I asked some unsuspecting tall person for help.
The last time I asked someone for help reaching an item on the top shelf was in Walmart in the coffee aisle. The tall young man in the Walmart associate vest begrudgingly told me how much of a burden it was to constantly be asked to get things off the top shelf. “It must be really hard on you, being able to reach things all on your own” I said.
Picking out the torch I wanted, I looked around. I’m always hoping some awesome tall woman will be there and we’ll have an interesting moment of sisterhood when she hands me the item. This never happens. Whenever I’m around tall women it’s never when I need to reach anything.
A lone figure stood behind me in the aisle. He was pretty tall, approximately in his late 50’s. “Excuse me, sir?” I asked him. The man turned around, looking over my head at first and then down. He sighed. “Yes?” I could tell he was annoyed already. “Um, I can’t reach this item I need. Can you get it?” the expression on his face closely resembled the look on my kids’ faces when I tell them to come put up their laundry. “Which one?” he asked. I pointed directly at the torch I needed. He walked over, looked up, also like my boys, and repeated himself “Which one?” I replied, “That one, right there” pointing directly at it. He pointed at the one beneath it and said, “this one?” I’m 100% sure my face now looked like my face does at home when I’m trying to direct one of the boys to pick up an object. “No. The one right above it. DIRECTLY above it” I directed him further. After a tense moment, he finally realized which one I was pointing at. He half heartedly reached for it, coming about an inch short. Any sane person would go up on their tip toes and REACH. He did not. “Maybe you could get one of those ladders” he said, obviously done. We looked around and at the opposite end of the aisle stood a yellow set of stairs. “Okay, thanks” I said, undoubtedly sounding forlorn. He was unphased by my tone and turned around to gaze at whatever he was looking at before, done with me.
I walked all the way to the end of the aisle. Standing right beside the stairs I realized they were larger than they looked at the other end. They were taller than me and significantly wider. The base of the stairs also had no wheels. I’m sure this was so it couldn’t roll when someone was standing on it. There was felt of some kind on the bottom so it would scoot across the concrete floor. They were entirely constructed out of metal. I grabbed ahold of one bar and pulled. Nothing happened. I was going to have to PULL. Flipping my crossbody purse around to my back the way I only do when I mean business, I grabbed a metal bar with each hand and began to slowly drag the stairs backward. I could not see where I was going, and kept having to turn, stop and look. During the long traverse back to the other end of the aisle, I drug those metal steps past not one, not two, but three men. Only one of which paid me any mind. The second man aggravatedly had to move out of my way, since he was standing right beside a display of items for sale in the middle of the aisle. “Sorry!” I said. In response he actually harrumphed and rolled his eyes.
Approximately 47 years later I arrived back at the torches. I made my way up the top and turned to stare angrily at the back of the man’s head who was still standing there staring into oblivion at the items opposite the torches. I grabbed the item I needed and made my way back down.
30 seconds later I realized the item I actually needed was on the bottom row.
*This incident occurred before we began social distancing. 😀