Anyone who knows me knows that I hate grocery shopping. HATE IT. In fact, while living in the city I ordered my groceries online and had them delivered, which was a magical experience. In case it isn’t painfully obvious, such a service is not available in my new location. So I am forced to go grocery shopping just like everyone else.
Since moving here I have dreaded grocery shopping. My most hated chore now includes 40 minutes of driving. And if I carelessly forget something (which I always do) I pretty much just have to live without it until the next time I am headed into town.
Yesterday I was afforded the rare luxury of grocery shopping on a week day morning, but also…without a baby taking up 93 percent of the cart space. It was…amazing! I have never known such an enjoyable experience as weekday, childless grocery shopping in a small town. I had my choice of parking spaces, my cart wheels all functioned to OSHA standards, and salespeople were tripping over themselves to assist me with my shopping needs!
This new shopping experience caused me to exhibit a rare moment of politeness and understanding to my fellow shoppers instead of threatening them with physical violence. There was a woman who angle parked her cart across the aisle to better examine store brand canned fruit vs. name brand canned fruit. Normally this type of behavior would elicit a verbal assault from me. So when she turned me and said “I’m sorry if I am in the way (Note: she did not say “I’m sorry, let me get out of the way” but instead apologized for being in the way and remained in the way. BIG DIFFERENCE between those two statements)” I was shocked at my response. I smiled and said “Don’t worry; I’m in absolutely no hurry at all.” And then it hit me: I am at my personal best at a small town grocery store without my baby at 8:47 a.m.
I was even able to pay attention to small details of grocery shopping that I had never noticed before. For example, my eyes happened to settle on a can of Reese’s Fancy Octopus and it inspired a great deal of deep thinking for my 20 minute commute home. I do not question Octopus as a canned good, since I am of Italian (please do not permit your inner dialogue to pronounce it EYE-talian) descent and octopus and squid are prevalent in Italian cuisine as three quarters of EYE-talie is surrounded by water.
What gummed up the inner workings of my little brain was the use of the word “fancy” to describe canned octopus. Does this mean there was another section that contained the casual octopus? Was there an even lower class of canned octopus that I had not even considered yet? And what made this particular octopus fancy? In a decade of shopping at big city grocery stores I had never seen one can of fancy octopus. I am sure it was there, but I was too busy hating grocery shopping to notice it.
When I went to leave the store there were actual store associates there not only to ring up my items, but also to bag them! I thought humans in the grocery stores were a protected species only visible during certain business hours and holidays so as to preserve their numbers. It was nothing short of miraculous.
When I exited the store, practically skipping and whistling, I noticed a very large sign hanging over two large blue receptacles asking for winter coats and canned goods for the local food pantry (the word “coats” was spelled with a “K” which caused me to cock my head to the side and wonder why it was necessary to spell Coats with a K. The word County was also on the sign, why wasn’t that spelled with a K too?).
I was trying to think if I had some canned goods I could part with when I noticed a supplemental sign Scotch taped to the front of each blue barrel. I simply couldn’t help myself, I snapped a picture as evidence:
The reason I took this picture was that it seemed very sad to me that the words “this is not a garbage can” was not clear enough. Apparently the barrel full of coats wasn’t enough to help people determine outerwear from garbage and warranted a sign. And worse yet, Not only did they have to BEG the general public to stop throwing trash in the charity bin, they had to explain where to put the garbage. And the sign “THIS IS NOT A GARBAGE” was so unclear to shoppers it had to be quantified with the statement “please put trash in its proper place.” This was all housed underneath a GIANT sign explaining the bins were for coats and canned goods.
I suppose it is possible someone could think it was a huge coincidence that everyone at the grocery store was throwing away their old coats and cans of food.
As I sit here writing this listening to Annabelle’s rave party music in her crib “soothing” her while she sleeps, I realize that I will be returning to work tomorrow. It makes me so sad. I hate to leave my baby. I hate to not bake a new cupcake or other tasty baked good every day. I hate to not be able to have my 2:00pm glass of Riesling. I hate to not get to watch QVC at my leisure. And I hate that I will never again have the pleasurable shopping experience I had yesterday morning and will be forced to return to a world where Fancy octopus does not exist, and I throw cigarette butts and gum wrappers into a blue garbage can mysteriously filled with children’s winter coats and canned carrots.