January 1, 2014
I got a little lesson in linguistics, courtesy the bagger at my neighborhood Fry’s grocery store yesterday.
See, I had hopped on my bicycle to pick up a few pre-New Year’s Eve items. Sometimes I haul along my huge, sturdy Tamimi/Safeway bag . . .
. . . but I had only reckoned to get three or four things so I figured I’d be fine with the small plastic Fry’s bags, balancing them nicely on either side of the handlebars.
Ironically, I had been listening to a podcast about “Loglang” on my headphones as I made the 5-minute trip.
(Loglang — a logical language, sometimes called lobjan — is a constructed or engineered language that can be spoken or written, designed to completely eliminate inherent ambiguities of natural languages.)
As you well know (and don’t pretend you don’t), three or four things can easily turn into five or six things . . . or eight.
When I got through the checkout, I politely said to the bagger, “Don’t use a lot of bags cuz I’m on a bike.” And as he was going along, I added, “See if you can get them in just two bags.”
Two single bags it was. One for each handlebar.
What I should have said was: “See if you can get them in just two sets of bags.” That is, double-bag the one with the half-gallon of milk.
I got on my bike and within a minute could see a problem arising as the handles of the bag containing the half-gallon of milk started to tear. Now, I am not about to wuss-out and walk the bike home, especially since I had a quick trip to the ATM on the itinerary.
Eventually, of course, the second thin plastic stap on the left-side bag broke and I had to complete the journey grasping the left-side bag in a bear hug and the milk container handle hooked into my pinkie finger while balancing the still-intact starboard bag.
Unfortunately, this left no hands available for the brakes.
As they used to say in the TV Guide listings, high jinx ensued.
New year’s resolution: double bag for biking.