I spend ALOT of time at the grocery store. Enough time to learn that the meat manager secretly favours chicken over beef, two of the cashiers are dating, and the fellow who is in charge of the health food section is a chain smoker.
The grocery store is sort of a sacred place for me in many ways. It provides alone time in a life where alone time is scarce. The music isn’t bad, there are free samples everywhere, and you can ride your cart down the aisles when no one is looking, which is kind of fun.
On the down side… lulled by the dulcet tones of an instrumental Bon Jovi mash up and dizzy with the sweet scent of Toaster Strudel samples, I become prone to a sort of existential extremism. I become acutely aware of my actions, leading me to recognize some oddly disturbing things about myself, like:
- I am too lazy to eat oranges
- I am too cheap to buy organic red peppers
- I could be a vegetarian… but only if the pig became extinct
- I CANNOT buy no-name ketchup. EVER. Heinz or death!
- I always buy brown eggs but I don’t know why
- I hide my junk foods under the other items in my cart
- I buy People but binge read The Star while I’m in the checkout line (because I really do want to see “celebrities with cellulite”)
- I go down the diaper aisle because it reminds me of when my kids were young
- I eat olives from the display because the sign says “do not sample”
- I have no idea how to eat a pomegranate
- I will purchase any food item that has a “cream filling”
The list is endless. As I meander aisle to aisle, I notice the eccentricities of other shoppers too. Like the lady who smells the tomatoes over and over but doesn’t buy any. Has she always been a sniffer? What does she know about tomato smells that I don’t know? And there’s the guy who fills his whole cart with lean ground beef and bags of frozen berries. What the heck is he making for dinner?
Maybe we are all weird: the meat manager and the cashiers and the chain-smoking health food guy; me and the tomato-smelling lady and the fellow buying 20+ pounds of dead cow. Or maybe we are all perfectly normal and this is just how people are; obsessed with their own behaviours and a little judgmental about how other folks behave.
I bet we all have more in common than we like to think… And I KNOW we all secretly want to see “celebrities with cellulite”!)