A traumatic event will occur at grocery stores as American-type people prep for Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner gorge-fest. The only cure to this terrifying phenomenon is my latest epiphany, the word “Koondayga.”
Here’s the scenario: You’re at the grocery store, minding your own business, and filling your cart with yum-yums. You turn onto aisle four and you run smack-dab into someone you haven’t seen in years.
If you’re lucky, damn lucky, you’ll remember the person’s name and engage in conversation. Hopefully, you’re able to retrieve enough fragmented memories to ask some meaningful questions, (“Eh, ah, how is, your, um child?”) Somehow, you’ll manage to complete the conversation and move on.
All will be well until two aisles later, when disaster strikes, as you find yourself face-to-face with the person. Again.
What in the hell will you talk about this time? What can you possibly say now that you’ve exhausted every last bit of commonality between the two of you? The truth is, there’s nothing to say. Nothing.
Both you and the person exchange nervous little laughs, and attempt to make light of the situation with “Oh hey, great to see you – how long has it been?” or “Hey, fancy seeing you here.” But the truth is, you’re incredibly uncomfortable. Your life is ruined, or at least it will be for the next ten minutes.
These encounters yield such painful psychological wreckage that people will go to great lengths to avoid these “remeets”, even engaging in the financially-destructive behavior known as avoidance shopping.
Avoidance shopping occurs when you purposely steer down another aisle to avoid running into the person again. Many times I’ve ducked into the ethnic food aisle and plopped a can of matzo ball soup into my cart to avoid another painful, forced conversation.
How financially damaging is avoidance shopping? I studied a year’s worth of receipts and found that I spent 3% of my annual salary on matzo ball soup.
Enough is enough. That’s where “Koondayga” comes into play.
The De-Awkwardizing Epiphany
It occurred to me that the person on the other end of these chance encounters might be trying to avoid me as well. To help us both out, we need is a word that lets us both off the hook, and move on without further awkward conversation.
I decided the word should be “Koondayga.” The word means, “Hey dude, this is a remeet, we both know it’s a remeet, so let’s not put each other through the sheer torture of having to talk again. You do your shopping, and I’ll do mine.”
Koondayga. You say it once, and nothing else needs to be said.
I tested Koondayga the other day. After a chance encounter, I sought out the person with whom I’d just had a conversation. He was hiding in the baby aisle, behind a stack of diapers.
“Let’s just say Koondayga and be done with it,” I said, briefly explaining the strategy.
A woman overheard me. “Hey, can I get in on that too?” she asked. “I’ve been hiding in this aisle since Tuesday. I’d like to go home and see my family.”
“You betcha,” I said. When I saw her in aisle seven, picking up some much-needed soap and deodorant, with both uttered Koondayga with knowing winks. It worked like a charm.
These days, with the help of Koondayga, I shop the aisles, relieved of all anxiety. I stop for brief chats with former acquaintances, and then delivering Koondaygas when we meet again. I feel more at ease, my stock portfolio is in better shape, and darned if I haven’t become more regular on the can.
I’ve also saved thousands of dollars on matzo balls soup, and I’m going to use the savings to open my own, stress-free grocery store.
The name? You guessed it baby: Koondaygas.
Photo by Sarah Stierch