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Lost In The Supermarket

Every week, sometimes twice, I head over to my local supermarket.  Usually I wait til I run out of everything before heading over, but many times I'm need of a certain item and need to restock.  Most people publicly dread the supermarket, but not me.  I freaking love it.  Every time I go it is like a grounded version of Cirque de Soleil.  You have creatures from all walks of life, all socioeconomic backgrounds and frankly largely varied intelligence levels. Those differences make my day.  Whether it be the shoppers or the employees, it is something to bare witness to.  In the next few paragraphs, I am going to summarize my last three trips, but wrap them into one cohesive story.  By cohesive I mean, I will let it flow like the roaring clusterfuck of a river it truly is.

I walked through the somewhat crowded parking lot.  The breeze chilled my cheeks.  I went over my short list again and again in my head.  I'm a guy, so to write it would be to admit, I have failed as a man.  I walked in and felt the euphoria. To me Stop & Shop is like a child walking into F.A.O. Schwartz, but toys have been replaced by boxes, cans and tables of fresh produce.  I stop briefly and pick up my small purple cart and gaze at the sea of purple and gold shirts.  I understand what it must be like to be at an LSU Tigers game and it's game time.

I make my way to the closest destination. Produce.  I grab two plastic bags and start to look over the vine ripened tomatoes.  They look good.  Firm, but not hard.  I throw a bunch of five or six into the bag, then slide over to the avocados. They are on sale today, 4/$5.  I'm saving $3, I'm in the zone.  I feel the first, a little give, into the bag.  I then search for three more, each a little firmer than the last, they will ripen at home.  A woman sees me pressing the last one and as it enters the bag. She says "you want them a little less firm."  I explain that I understand, but the fourth will not be eaten for a few days.  I glance across and see her holding oranges.  I stare directly at her breasts, ignoring the oranges and slowly raise my head.  I ask her "they're firm?"  She smirks, I smile, I walk away.

The thought of her breasts are jogged from my mind as I walk over to the red onions. And elderly woman stands with her cart blocking them as she looks at her list.  I take the time to glance around. a pretty blond, mid to late 30's enters.  She flips her head and her hair flies around.  She heads straight for the butter. She has a family and kids.  This is not an essential unless you do a lot of home cooking. The old lady moves and now I have to make my way past a middle aged man who looks like there might be something a little off.  I start to grab my onion, when a potato rolls against my foot.  I lean down and pick it up.  I hand it to the man, who immediately starts to raise his voice and point "it's not mine, it's not mine."  I place it back.  I turn to walk away...he picks the potato up.

I grab some cheddar and cream cheese.  Then walk to my brand of cottage cheese. It's not on sale. It is every other week. I'll pass this week.  I grab my 2% milk and ponder some grapefruit.  I pass.  I get to the end of the aisle and there is a line for cold cuts.  I am uninterested, but can't see the hummus.  No sale, I pass again.  I make my way past the next two aisles and then turn left.  I make my way down the aisle and come across a woman, pushing a cart. There's a baby bundled up and she sees me.  I know she's not interested, but I'm age appropriate.  She stops and walks around the cart to inspect a product. She's only about 5'5", but with the heals she's taller than me.  Black leather boots up past her knee, skirt barely coming down to meet the boots.  She bends down to inspect the item.  She knows I'm watching.  I know she's gotta baby to take care of and probably two more at school.  I walk by.  I know it bothers her.  This is her play time. The time she goes out and confirms she still has it.  Apparently it, isn't three kids and a husband, which is the it she really has.  I walk a few steps past.  I grab my coffee and some filters.  Three men are gawking now.  It doesn't matter, I ruined this aisle for her.

A rare occurrence.  I run into a guy I know. He immediately asks what I am doing there. I pause, he doesn't realize the error of his ways.  I glance at my items, "just picking up a few things."  He comments on my veggies and I commented on the fact nothing he had in his cart isn't microwavable and he has two kids and a wife.  We agreed to talk later and I was on my way.  I made my way to the paper good aisle and walked towards the toilet paper.  I started to grab a value pack of about 12 rolls and then noticed a very attractive younger woman walking down the aisle. She stopped to grab something and we made eye contact.  I clumsily put down the item and picked up a single roll and threw it in my basket and walked away, saying hi as I passed. There is always that awkward feeling that is so silly that you feel when buying certain things.  Did my move make her think I don't take shits?  I know she does, albeit not with the frequency I do, but in my mind, I thought two things.  She's either going to think I have a large family or I have IBS.  Either way, I was looking cooler than I would have.

I'm now in the frozen food aisle.  I don't usually like stuff like this, but a few months back, I wanted a quick fix and I deplore the local pizzerias in the area. I tried this one called Celeste.  To my surpise, it's actually very tasty.  They have a bunch of varieties and unlike other frozen pizzas, these actually have veggies that taste fresh.  The best thing about them is that they are only $1.25 and almost always on sale for $1.  I usually buy five or six and keep them for when I need a quick lunch or I'm not really hungry for dinner. At anywhere between 390-470 calories, they are also a decent diet solutionSo I walk to the freezer and take two and place them in my cart. All of the sudden, my body is shaken.  Someone has slammed into my shoulder and pushed me out of the way.  My initial reaction is it is my friend playing a joke. Then I turn and there is a large woman, in her 50's and she starts to grab the pizzas and throw them in her cart.  Startled I give her a puzzled look.  "Aren't these just the best?   You can't beat the taste compared to the others and for $1, you just can't beat them. Now they have mushroom, it's amazing.  I always buy ten, whether I need them or not."  I shake my head and start to chuckle.  I've just been physically removed from my spot and now this woman is explaining the wonders of Celeste Pizzas.  I had not option but to laugh.  I smiled at her and she smiled back, turned and walked away.  I gathered myself once again, filled my cart and headed to my next destination.  I was just completely mistreated and somehow this woman made my day.  Amazing.

I swung around the corner and now decided I needed to get out of there.  I grabbed some English Muffins and then walked to the other end and picked up a loaf of Italian bread.  I started to make my way towards the registers and I knew I had too many items for the express lane.  I glanced over and I had three choices.  Angry black girl who gets annoyed and makes you feel like you're bothering her?  Way too happy to be working older black woman who will stop checking items and chat with you?  Or would it be the older white woman who plays twenty questions that even your friends won't ask you.  I went for angry black girl, because she had the new I'm the biggest Glee fan ever teen bagging groceries.  A woman in front of me places her items on the belt and handles her antsy baby.  As her stuff starts to move, I place my items behind hers. A tall young man places his stuff behind mine.  As the woman in front of me is having her stuff bagged every so carefully, she looks at her daughter and says to the young gay kid "the rest is mine, can you just stuff it all in one bag?'  He smiles and says "I love jamming things in...and gives off an effeminate laugh.  He then turns to his angry coworker and yells "tonight I'm gonna Pah-Tay!"  I roll my eyes and she starts to check out my stuff. I walk over and go to give the kid a hand and all of the sudden I see stuff I didn't want. I tell her and she glances at the guy behind me and says "I thought you two were together."  Not sure how to take that I sat "No" and swipe my debit card.  I thank her, thank the kid and walk out.

As I walk home, I think about firm breast woman, old undecided lady, strange potato guy, cute blond soccer mom, the cold cut line, overly sexy for a mom shopping during the day chick, my I don't cook dad friend, the please don't know I shit girl, and finally the lovable staff and my not gay boyfriend.  As I put stuff away and make a sandwich, I think back to the few minutes I got to spend in Neverland and I smile.  I can't wait to return.

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