There is a young man who I’ll call Walter who works at one of the local big box discount stores. He is cheerful and friendly, talks to people with ease, injecting humor into his brief interactions with customers.
On this particular morning, I maneuvered around the store, finding the large palettes filled with cases of bottled water. My wife prefers the bottled water they sell here because it has a better pH level. I prefer it because it’s cheap. Lord knows, I’m acerbic enough.
I loaded six cases into my gray shopping cart, scolding myself for not choosing one of the larger red carts. The bottled water is wrapped in thin plastic that often tears, causing some of the individual bottles to commit hari-kari by leaping from the safety of the plastic nest onto the tiled vinyl floor.
Standing in line, I grimaced because things were not moving very fast. Never fails, I thought. One checker. And a chatty one at that. I listened to Walter, who I remembered meeting during a previous visit, engage in conversation with the older Asian woman as she rummaged through a small, yet cavernous, pocket purse. The tall black man next in line shook his head as we both looked on as the woman continued performing her desperate search and rescue for long-lost exact change. I felt like buying her groceries just to speed things up. Life was ticking away.
Then Walter asked her, “How is the time change treating you?”
She paused, slipping him a flustered gaze as the man in front of me and I sighed in unison.
“I’m trying,” she responded. “What was the amount again?”
She went back to digging.
“I wish they would just do away with Daylight Savings Time, “Walter shared. “It has outlived its usefulness. Times have changed. Wouldn’t you agree?”
She ignored him.
My heart jolted with joy as the woman handed him three dimes, two nickels, and two pennies. Walter thanked her and handing her the receipt, pattered through his spiel about the online survey and the code at the bottom that might land her a free five-hundred-dollar shopping spree.
The man in front of me set down his red carbonated soda, salted peanuts, and chocolate candy bar. Walter rang up the items, chatting with the tall man who I surmised was a little older than me. The man handed Walter a ten. Walter made change, prattling non-stop. He threw in his philosophical commitment on revolutionizing the world by eliminating Daylight Savings Time. I wondered how long he intended to hold his paying customers hostage with his verbal tirade. The older man chuckled at the hardships this young buck presumed to endure. “Changing the clock ain’t too hard for me, “the man said, “Been doing it all my life. You do it and you move on. Simple as that. Have a good day now.”
He left Walter teetering on the edge of speechlessness. But not for long. “How are you, sir?” Walter welcomed me to the register.
Finally. My turn. At this point, I had begun doubting the value of the cheap water I was buying. Perhaps it wasn’t cheap enough. But, I admit, I found the young man’s upbeat, cheery attitude refreshing. Being a Gen-Xer, my demeanor isn’t always dazzling.
“And how is your day going today?” Walter must have sensed that I don’t always wake up on the right side of the bed. “Are we adjusting to the time change?”
I glanced over both my shoulders to see if my invisible friends had turned visible. Nope. Nobody there. Good.
Clearly, Daylight Savings Time was having a profound effect on Walter, who I surmised to be a young Millennial. He did not seem quite young enough to be one of the Generation Z kids that I had seen protesting on TV recently. I could be wrong. Maybe Walter felt inspired and decided to start his ‘Kill Daylight Savings Time’ initiative. No doubt, us old folk were messing up the world. If only a generation would come along that knew what it was doing. Kurt Cobain was probably turning in his grave.
“Whoa. That’s a bunch of water. Thirsty? “
“How many cases we got there?”
“What are you going to do with all that H2O?”
Walter nodded. “Makes sense. But not all at once, surely.”
“Right, ” I said, presenting my best happy face. “Not all at once.”
“How long does that last you?”
I glanced at the three people waiting in line behind me. I feel your pain. “A few weeks,” I sneered.
“Got it.” A beep sounded each time he scanned the bar code of the case nearest him. “One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. I believe I got ’em all. That’ll be eighteen dollars.”
I handed Walter a twenty. Smiling, he opened the register and handed me two dollars in quarters. “Sorry, I’m out of ones right now. I hope quarters are okay. My manager is working on getting me some fresh money. If you want, you can wait.”
I shook my head. “No, that’s cool. Thanks.” In a world of plastic money and virtual payments having a pocket full of change had become a rarity.
“Have a momentous day.” Walter handed me my receipt. “Don’t forget to go online and fill out the survey. You could win free money. Be sure to tell ‘em that your cashier talks way too much. My name’s Walter.”
“Thanks Walter. My day has already been life-changing. Good luck getting adjusted to the time change.”
“I’m done with it. Daylight Savings Time is outdated. We do not need it anymore. It’s not like we’re living during American Revolutionary times.”
“No, we’re not.”
I am sure the winding line of people waiting patiently behind me were relieved to see me leave. But not as glad as I was to be going. Is this how revolutions get started?