It should surprise no one that I frequently dash over to the local Safeway between 10 PM and the store's midnight closing time. I sometimes do this at John's request, sometimes because we're out of something, and sometimes to, ahem, buy ice cream. It's only half a mile away, the Safeway for which my "Safeway Sunsets" are named. And there's a clerk there, Cliff, who is an attraction all by himself, with his encyclopedic knowledge of anime, sf and classic tv, what's out on DVD and what is imminent, and what web sites can supply the specific info you need. He's smart and funny and friendly, an ex-teacher with a fondness for Hitchcock and Amtrak. I'm certain that many people shop there specifically because he works there.
Recently, though, those nighttime trips to Safeway have been less pleasant. Oh, Cliff is the same as ever, the selection is decent* and the prices are okay. But they're refurbishing this store, which can't be more than about ten years old; and night time is when the bulk of the construction goes on. So far they've replaced the floor in Produce, installed new cases for baked goods, and made a start on a Starbucks counter. Mostly they've been fussing with the floors and ceiling, measuring and marking and (as Steven Moffat calls it) "urgently standing." The sound of jackhammers is not uncommon in this Safeway after dark.
Sometimes I wonder whether I should request a hardhat just to shop there. The place really is a construction site. Just tonight there were three guys on scissor cranes (or whatever they're called) just inside the main doors. The bagel display case was covered with plastic and I didn't want to disturb it, so no bagels for morning. Architectural plans lay on a table, and guys were conferring near the meat department.
The green crane thingy hauling cement by the front door wasn't John Deere, but might as well have been. (Sunbelt was the brand, I think.) A section of the parking lot is blocked off as a staging area. And walking between the main doors and the staging area was the guy who gave me an excuse to quote The Princess Bride, the slender thread by which I hang this entire blog entry: a man with a wheelbarrow.
Pointillist wheelbarrow, sort of
No sign of Inigo, Fezzik or the albino.
*It is not possible to buy the whole range of groceries and brands at any single grocery chain in Tucson. Generally you need three of them, or to do without this bubble bath, that salsa or the other ice cream. We have no idea why this is so.