For the past week, I’ve done an immense amount of grocery shopping, acquiring supplies to use in preparing lunch for volunteers at the Friends of the Library book sale.

Aside: The sale, at McKinley High School cafeteria, is on through Sunday with deep discounts on the weekend. Proceeds cover expenses libraries can’t fund in their normal budgets: conferences and advanced education for libraries, upgrading computer programs, acquiring new materials. It’s our largest fundraiser, one full-time volunteers work on all year. Come on down. See for details.

So about this shopping thing: These daily excursions have convinced me that there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who recognize that there are others on the planet and others who seem oblivious to that fact.

Among the latter, those:
• who cannot master the concept of keeping the grocery cart in front of you on the same side of the aisle that you’re using, so that there’s a lane free for others to use,
• who don’t bother to take their wallet or checkbook out until the total is rung, holding up the line,
• who stop dead in the middle of the aisle, cart askew, while apparently considering the square root of 999,
• who, encountering a line at customer service or other such counters, walk right past others waiting to be served, ignoring signage that directs them to queue up, as though convinced “this couldn’t possibly apply to me,”
• who get in their cars in a crowded parking lot, turn on the engine, step on the brake so the brake lights go on, exciting those behind them waiting for a space, then get on the phone, dig into their purse, fumble for their coffee cup, check out their shopping list.

I admit to being an impatient sort, trained to drive by dad whose favorite exclamation was “Drive it or park it, buddy!,” who likes to identify a shopping mission, set out on it and get it done in as little time as possible. As much as I love new products, the beauty of food and the process of shopping, I am very careful not to hold others up when I’m lingering over a new product or doing price comparisons or other such work in the grocery store.

If you recognize yourself in these instances (but you won’t because it’s the nature of oblivious types is that they’re, well, oblivious), don’t be surprised if I turn into Towanda! (see the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”) one day and ram your cart, not to mention our car!