One of the more mundane life jobs that I really don’t mind, is doing laundry. I love the feeling of accomplishment when the piles of clean, folded laundry are before me.
The same cannot be said for grocery shopping. Trying to figure out what we need for the coming week. Trying to figure out what I’m going to feel like cooking four days from now. Trying to spend less than $300 a week, which is only possible while First Born Son is away at work. LOVE YOU SON!
Then there is the experience of acquiring the groceries. There’s the hauling of the empty bins and bags so that I’m environmentally responsible. Next, I have to make my way through a sea of humanity to vie for the same bundle of green onions as the person beside me. I shop at two stores; one that packs my groceries for me – and I only go to trusted cashiers who won’t demolish my bananas, and another where you are forced through like cattle in a chute and need to bag your own groceries with speed and dexterity that is best demonstrated on Survivor.
Grocery shopping brings out the worst in people, myself included. Thoughtless individuals leave their carts unattended in front of a display of discounted canned soup, while doubling back 20 feet to find the crackers they passed by. I’ve witnessed kids trying to shoplift, couples have full-blown domestics and countless meltdowns – and they weren’t all from children.
The checkout process is just as painful. Customers who ring through all their purchases and then realize they forgot their wallets at home are the BEST. A close second are those who clip coupons. There’s a special place in hell for them.
One of my part time jobs as teen was working in a grocery store, so perhaps I’ve carried over some latent issues from the 80s. Forgive me.
But by far, my favourite grocery store tale was just a couple of weeks ago. There I was, minding my own business, about half done the weekly torture session that is grocery shopping. As I approached the end of the aisle, I noticed a staff member chatting with a customer who has a small child in a grocery cart. They appeared to know each other, and immediately I constructed a plan to get around them without hitting them.
The customer turned toward me as she sensed me drawing near.
“HOLY FUCK!” she yells. YELLS.
<PAUSE> For those of you with delicate constitutions, this blog post features the word “fuck”, which is not part of my personal vocabulary because I don’t like saying it, but apparently I have no issuing writing it. Conduct yourself accordingly. <PLAY>
In the nanosecond that she yells this, I engage the Fight or Flight reflex. I must be a heartbeat away from a tragic canned fruit stoning. Perhaps there’s a tsunami of 2% milk bearing down on me?! I actually flinch and glance over my shoulder.
“YOUR HAIR IS FUCKING AWESOME!”
<PAUSE> Knowing that I don’t use this word with any kind of regularity, I do find it interesting to see how it is employed by those who do. On the very rare occasion that I have used this word, it has been during extreme duress with the utmost urgency. Not that that’s an excuse, Mom.<PLAY>
I’m in shock that this woman is offering this kind of language a) in the public place, b) with a child within earshot, c) about something as innocuous as HAIR.
I do what I do best when faced with public embarrassment; pretend like everything is normal.
“Oh, thanks!” I offer, trying to negotiate between her hind end and the industrial shelving that offers every kind of cake mix known to man.
“No, really! I love the colour! And it looks so…” she gestures wildly around her head. “I wish I could wear my hair like that. FUCKING AWESOME!”
I smile and squeeze through the narrow channel, pointing my cart to freedom. The customer turns back to her employee friend and continues to extol the virtue of my truly exceptional coiffure.
For the record, this is what the fuss was all about…
…and I can give you the name of my hairdresser so you can have FUCKING AWESOME hair too.
BTW – I now wear a peaked cap to the grocery store.