What It’s Like For Him Now

After his card gets rejected
a second and a third time,
after the cashier starts to look
annoyed and the customers,
agonized in line behind him
have shifted from foot to
weary foot, he finally takes a
second look at the touchpad
and realizes that 2-3-5-7
does not spell out his secret
nickname but is, in fact, his
office telephone’s extension.
Happy that he has not lost
his mind, or not completely
lost his mind, he slides the
magic plastic one more time.

While everybody rolls their
eyes and holds their breath,
he punches in the 3 and 5 and
6 and 6 he should have known
without a second thought, without
a second’s hesitation. The room’s
illuminated by patrons’ smiles,
the cashier’s affect brightens,
the folks in line look forward to
inching forward, captains again
of their shopping fate, glad
to see the geezer gone at last,
meds in hand, leaning on his cane,
scanning the lot for his lost car.

10 thoughts on “What It’s Like For Him Now

  1. Ron, but for the gender of your protagonist, this is me! I have a debit card for UK, where I only go once a year. I haven’t a clue what is the PIN!

    I didn’t understand this line: “the cashier’s affect brightens,” An errant apostrophe? affect/effect?

    • Thanks Viv; I suppose many of us identify. Re “affect”: It’s a term from psychiatry: An expressed or observed emotional response: Restricted, flat, or blunted affect may be a symptom of mental illness.

  2. Ron, you are too funny but I like your style. This has happened to us all at some point in time. It also made me think of my dad. He never used a bank cars but he did lose his car in the Kroger parking lot a time or two, or even three.

  3. Obviously, I am not alone (based on your poem and those who have commented). Moreover, that any cashier’s line I pick always becomes the slow one so I am doubly cursed. But you brought a smile to my face and now I’ll always wonder what your secret name is. ~nan

  4. This made me laugh as I got behind someone who was having similar troubles recently. I held my breath and prayed to the electronic gods that she would get the touchpad to work its magic before my ice cream melted on the conveyor belt.

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