The Jazzercise Practitioner Bought Yogurt


Being situated in the Oakland neighborhood of Topeka, Kansas; Mike’s IGA enjoyed a particular class of customer. There is little better way to define this class than to acknowledge that it was one in which the consumption of yogurt was an extreme rarity. In my days at Mike’s we had exactly one customer who requested yogurt. Luckily, she did so with such vigor that it was cost effective for us to order entire cases of yogurt for her alone.

Let me flesh out this diamond in the rough. I’d estimate her age at mid-60’s. She was a lively one. I most often saw her in the store wearing her unitard and heavily modified sweatshirt with the Jazzercise logo diagonal across her chest. All with huge holes cut out where the sleeves and original neck hole used to be. Massively puffy white sneakers inevitable between her and mother earth. I liked her though. She had a spark in her eye. When a new flavor of yogurt didn’t please her, she brought the entire case back.

It sometimes seemed that this cougar had made it her mission to singlehandedly bring the per-capita yogurt consumption of Oakland up to the national average. I remember her taking home at least a case a week. Here again my curiosity eventually got the better of me.

A day eventually came when she passed through my register on the way out of the store. She was in her typical jazzercise attire. She carried under one arm a stack of VHS tapes from the video rental store across the street. I rang up her case of yogurt–hand delivered from the fridge in the stockroom. By this time we no longer bothered to even put the stuff on the shelves.

I do believe my memory can be trusted on this exchange. The sun was going down. For a few brief moments horizontal light was able to pass through the narrow band between the deeply overhanging faux-wood shingled roof and the top of the cigarette racks lighting up the interior of that humble grocery store. In these moments I often thought it took on a near-Rockwellian charm. Courage enlivened by this passing moment of beauty; I dared lead her with, “You sure like yogurt, huh?”

She took her goods under one arm, her VHS under the other. She looked me straight in the eye and responded, “Have you ever covered yourself in yogurt and watched dirty movies?”


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5 Responses to “The Jazzercise Practitioner Bought Yogurt”

  1. maureen Says:

    Wha?!! Didn’t see that coming at all! I might have laughed harder just now than I did about the half-drank cokes in the fridge–hard to say.

    And pretty sure this is the thing that’s going to pop into my brain in the middle of a lecture tomorrow night–I’ll start laughing out loud for no apparent reason and everyone will look at me. Bound to happen. . .

  2. Leigh Ann Says:

    Unbelievable… ROFL…. one thing though… Your response Y/N???

  3. getitgotitgoods Says:

    who hasn’t?

  4. Sage Says:

    She was carving out a unique existence: maybe in touch with aliens.

  5. kristen Says:

    Just yesterday the woman behind me in line at Wild Oats at 5 large containers of soy vanilla yogurt. Just the yogurt. At the time, I was thinking, “Man, she really likes yogurt.” Now, it’s a whole different matter.

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