I went to the big grocery this week, for the first time in a long, long time. I avoid the big grocery more than I have ever avoided any ex-boyfriend. Ex-boyfriends don’t entail screaming children, sticky floors or stretched-out tattoos.
Let me be more specific: I went to small-town America Wal-Mart.
Now, you understand where I'm coming from.
I gave myself the “You can do this. It is twenty-three minutes out of your life” pep talk and made a list that would suffice for three months. Including staples like bottled water, pepper jack cheese, green beans and batteries should 1) tornado season escalate or 2) Charlie Sheen sober up.
The last time I gave myself that exact pep talk I didn’t fair well either; It was when I was home one weekend from Purdue and Dad sent me to Greens Fork Alignment to get new tires put on Old Blackie. Turned out to be an all-day deal. Great for them - They had a day’s worth of business.
I got my cart, pulled out my list and put on my game face. Firstly I found the avocados I was so anxious to buy. Turns out they were mangos, but who is judging - Other than all of you? I loaded ten of those little guys into my cart and moved on. I salvaged through the vegetables, plumbs and had to arm wrestle some 4 year old for the last package of all-beef brats. Obviously, he’d been raised on the turkey.
I didn’t even make it to the cereal aisle before I ran across the typical pediatric-melt down. You know, the one where the kid grabs the Fruit Loops off the shelf and Mom goes for the GrapeNuts; and just like that the child thinks Christmas is canceled and the Tooth Fairy lost her wings. Have seen it a thousand times.
It was just before I picked up the broken eggs, but after I had a semi-nervous break-down trying to find rice cakes, that I realized I wasn’t cut out for Wal-Mart. I’m cut out for small-town Cutshaw's with two kinds of microwave popcorn, a full deli selection and cashiers that still take a personal check - while asking how the calving season is going.
I had sixteen items on my grocery list and left with twenty-three tacky, white plastic bags that, can I just say, I carried into the house in one trip from the car. Yes, I am proud. I mean, I can’t feel my forearms, but whatever - I made it in one trip. I’m also wondering how I ended up with an entire bag full of jelly beans and peeps - both of which I hate.
Truth be told, give me a calf that needs tagged, or white dress pants, or even three-inch heels and I’m confident I could hold my own. Give me disorganized produce, a shopping-cart collision or a self check-out that won’t scan the Kleenex box properly, and I’m a mess. But, I made it through another big grocery trip - without faking a handicap to get out of the store sooner - and I know I’m better for it.
I just unloaded all twenty-three bags; turns out I remembered the whole almonds but forgot the toilet paper. No big surprise there. See ya tomorrow, Cutshaw's.