The old lady crept along the analgesics aisle with her shopping cart like the lead villain in a mummy movie.
And not one of those sleek, hyper-drive new CGI mummies, either. Oh no, we're talking Old School, plodding, 2-miles-an-hour, long-deceased, vengeful yet been-around-the-block-enough-they're-waiting-for-you-to-fall-and-break-an-ankle, pharaoh-type mummies here.
The ones who'll off you when they're good and ready.
I thought nothing of it at the time.
I assumed her, quite wrongly, to be just your average elderly lady. The kind with bladder control concerns. And gout. And arthritis from knitting her cats legwarmers.
And then I made the mistake that would cost me.
I had five minutes before I needed to be back at work. And I ducked around her.
Have you ever seen Spielberg's Duel with Dennis Weaver?
Dennis Weaver is a businessman driving on a desolate Western road. He needs to get to a meeting quickly. So he passes this slow-moving, large, mud-spattered gasoline truck-- just one simple action, something that happens a million times on the roads every day.
Unfortunately, the driver is two gears short of a well-wired gearbox.
And because of this single pass... this simple gesture... this one moment in time he cannot take back... that unseen driver begins a relentless mission to eliminate Dennis Weaver from America's roadways and make him go "splat."
I'm telling you all this because I suspect Duel was actually based on a real-life story, and that this old lady was actually the driver of that truck.
I don't know whether it was the speed with which I went around her. Or a snotty clack of my plastic shopping basket. Or an impertinent squeak of my shoes on the grocery store floor.
But this old lady let me get ahead of her in the aisle just enough for a false sense of security. And that's when she changed-- shedding her Sweet, Grandmotherly, Octogenarian Disguise and transforming into Trucker Granny from Hell.
Yes, I had no sooner headed on my way, and began to think about things back at the office, when the old woman put on an astounding, rattling burst of speed, plowed the shopping cart forward and...
Rammed it hard into the back of me, catching the ol' Achilles heel and the less firm parts of my nether-regions.
The cart clanked and jarred. I tripped forward, catching myself. Fellow shoppers witnessed, wide-eyed.
And I have to tell you, it was at that moment, there was a part of me that was really impressed-- though not necessarily my ankle tendon which was throbbing a bossanova of pain.
I mean, not often do you underestimate someone so thoroughly as to have your impression proven completely and utterly wrong-- and with physical assault, no less.
And when I turned to look at her and said a pointed, "Hey!" (a brilliant comeback considering the surprise circumstances), Granny had transformed once more. Only now she had become also blind and deaf.
She could not hear my indignant, "Hey."
She could not see me before her. She just smiled smugly, steadfastly refusing to meet my gaze.
The turbo which she had relied on only moments before had burnt out, but she was storing up... for later I think.
Yes, Trucker Granny had earned a notch on her shopping cart handlebar.
She had made a glorious shining statement against the pushy, uppity young'ns of the world. She had taken a stand for batty, damn-well-gonna-do-what-I-please seniors everywhere.
I imagine I wasn't her first victim.
And I'm willing to bet, I was not the last.