My Haiku: Trapped in the Kroger
Trapped in the Kroger
Threats of bombs in parking lot
They won't let us out
Yesterday, after cleaning out the fridge and realizing that our edible goods had been reduced to bagels & cream cheese, half a lime, and some vanilla yogurt, I deemed it to be time for a trip to the local Kroger. The part of the story where I buy groceries is boring, so I'll skip to the part where I'm checking out.
The lady in the lane next to me was talking about how they'd been taping off the parking lot as she drove up; sure enough, I looked outside and the whole lot was taped off. An ambulance and fire truck are parked at the front of the lot. At this point, I suspect that it's a medical emergency--it's fairly frequent to see an ambulance around that parking lot, perhaps due to the large volume of senior citizens who do business there. This changes when we discover that they're not letting anyone out of the store. Apparently, a suspicious package has been dropped off beside a white jeep in the parking lot.
Frustrated shoppers line the front of the store, wanting to go back to there cars. No one seems terribly frightened, and the atmosphere is more impatient that worried. Strangers are talking to each other about movies they've seen with similar threats in grocery stores, or about their boyfriends deployed in Iraq, or about how their kids are antsy because they haven't yet been home from school. For a moment, it doesn't matter that we don't know each other. We are all bonded.
The highlight of the scene was when Fire Marshall Rick Jones, a man who I've known since I was very small, came and started to inspect the Jeep, and the small package next to it. He was dressed like this:
Turns out there wasn't anything in the package but a bunch of CDs and "other small items." I don't understand their logic, anyway. They were letting people in and out of the store, provided they were parked in the outskirts of the parking lot. The package was 20 feet away from the entrance, where all of us innocent bystanders were gathered, watching the action. If it had been a bomb, we would have all been covered in shrapnel and / or blown to pieces. We just couldn't get into our cars and drive to safety. Yeah.
Anyway, I survived.