"You're reading a magazine."
Is there a note of accusation in the bagger's voice? I always read magazines in the grocery checkout line. I glance up. Probably not, she looks friendly enough.
"People magazine," she says, and actually points at me.
I feel a moment's irrational panic. I'm in this particular store because it's late in the day and I just happened to be nearby and supper's already late. I am not prepared for some twilight zone protocol that says customers can't scan magazines for Dwight Yoakam album reviews. I stuff it hurriedly back in its slot.
"Your shirt, your shirt," she says, chortling. "I guessed right."
Oh, my shirt. Now I get it. I'm wearing the T-shirt I bought at ALA last summer: Guess What I'm Reading?, it says. No one ever has before, though; that's why I was confused.
We have a nice chat while the clerk rings up my supper items. She's not much of a reader herself, she tells me, though her sister is: "She has as many books as Books-A-Million." And her sister writes, has written wonderful stories since she was six.
My bagger keeps a journal, though. It isn't on-line, it's an actual paper journal, and she writes in it every night.
I leave the store feeling rather pleased with humankind.