One of my least favorite chores is buying groceries. I don’t really know why it’s my least favorite, other than it takes time out of my schedule; I have to physically touch every object I buy multiple times (way too many, in my book); and it’s EXPENSIVE (and getting even more so by the second). Nowadays, I tend to get groceries on my way home from work, which delays my arrival home AND our family dinner.

When my children were younger, we all went to the grocery store together much more often than we do now. Occasionally, when I had only a few items and I was feeling particularly adventurous, we would use the “self-scan” registers. One time, when C was about 10 or 11, he ran ahead of me into the self-scan lane, and hit the button on the screen indicating that we wanted our checkout experience to be in Spanish. Um… what?

First of all, it is important to understand that throughout junior high, high school and college, I took French. Back then, we didn’t have exposure to foreign languages before we hit 7th grade, and at that point, we had to choose our career language—the language we would take through high school. Nobody ever switched. Thus, I know English and French (and a little bit of Greek from a two-month exchange trip back in the dark ages). No Spanish. None.

I stared at the screen with no idea what to do. How do you fix the language setting when you can’t understand the language in which the machine is prompting you? Ugh! Out of frustration, I moved to another register and let that one time out and reset itself. And I made a mental note not to let C beat me to the self-scan registers anymore.

Yesterday, a new laptop arrived in the mail for C. He was in the living room running through the set up procedures, and I could hear him reading the options aloud. “Set language….” And BAM! Just like that, I was transported back to that day in the supermarket. I could see the sly smile he gave me that day, just like it happened yesterday.

“Set it to Spanish, C!” I called to the living room. “Just like you used to do to me in the grocery store!”

He snickered. “Yeah. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

Yes, I thought, my own sly smile brightening my face. It would be kinda fun, wouldn’t it?


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