The Paying Dream

What else to call it? I begin in a modern, well-lit grocery store. I’m at the register to pay. The total is $15.87. I have the money to cover it, pay, take my plastic bag of goods, and leave.

I don’t know what I’m buying. Again, I’m there. Paying at the register. The total is twelve something. I debate about using my debit card or paying cash. I pay cash, figuring that I have just enough.

I’m walking into the grocery store to shop. It’s modern, well-lit, and busy. (The store is always modern, well-lit, and busy throughout the dream.) I’m at the register. The total is twelve something. I don’t have cash on me. I decide to pay with my debit card. I do so without a problem.

I’m back in the store again, at the register, paying for my purchase. It’s later in the day but still bright and sunny outside. I decide to use my debit card. I struggle to use the card right. Then I struggle with the PIN. Impatience wells up in the shoppers behind me, rushing out of them as agitated comments. “I don’t understand,” I say. “I just used it this morning and it worked fine.” I finally pay, grab my bag, and go.

I’m driving into a parking space in front of the grocery store. Sunlight flashes off the car’s windshield. It’s a light blue convertible, but I don’t know other details. I enter the store to shop, then I’m in line to pay. The total is fourteen something. I don’t have the cash for it. I debate between using my debit card and my credit card. I use the debit card. It doesn’t work, exasperating me. I go to the credit card. I slide the wrong side through, and then slide the right side, but then realize my card has a chip and the terminal has a chip reader. I pop the card in but can’t remember my PIN for it. I can’t believe I’m having such trouble remembering my PINs.

I’ve not noticed the cashiers before. They’ve never said or done anything as I went through my paying problems. But now, a manager comes over, big, white, middle-aged guy, short-sleeved mustard-yellow shirt, black tie, small mustache. He comes to the terminal and does something to override it and process the card. Then he says, “You know what you need to do?”

“No,” I reply, “what?”

But he’s not talking to me. He’s talking to someone behind me. I turn to see them. The dream ends.

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