As I have noted publicly–while ambidextrously noting privately those who take no note of my noting—I am the honcho of the weekly grocery shopping. In that capacity I get the use of the Honda (sans le conductor backseato,) a black ball point pen, a sheet of Dollar Tree note paper and, as they lie in commercials, much, much more.
I am also free to park anywhere, except the space reserved for “Expected Mothers.” (If expecting your mother, park here. If she isn’t there by Tuesday, I don’t think she’s expecting you anymore.)
Like any good grocery commander, I know my supermarket, I know my aisles, I know where to find the organic toilet paper and the free range Doritos. I know the meat guy, I know the fish lady and the dude who puts gorilla glue on the cracked eggs.
Every now and then K-Mac rides along, like a UN observer checking for compliance with the Geneva Convention Center. She refuses, however, to wear the blue helmet.
But with K-Mac along, at least I don’t have to set foot in the panty hose aisle, filled with skeeving products like moo goo bedpan, oil of Jose, creamed spinach and much, much more–all destined for the secret alcoves and culverts of none of my beeswax.
Sometimes, when I am in that aisle, the teen-age stock boy asks what I’m looking for. I freeze. I’m afraid if I tell him, he will tell the meat guy.
Sometimes I will do a high-speed run-by, grabbing a handful of panty hose and whatever else falls off the shelf into the cart. If someone sees me I say “These aren’t for me.” But I know they don’t believe me.
On our most recent foray to the storeay, we stopped in the coffee/tea/cereal/candy aisle and picked up a box of steel-cut oats. It carried a “New and Improved” label that bragged “fewer steel shavings than ever.”
Nearby, a young woman paused at the Hershey bars and asked her young man “Do we have any chocolate in the house?” Her tone was flat and passionless, as if she was asking “Do we have any Albanians in the house?”
My basic, bottom-line rule of survival hasn’t changed since Kindergarten. I have never been in any house with chocolate in it that I didn’t know about and proceed to find and devour. On the flip side, I’ve been in chocolateless homes that cry out for love and get nothing but macaroons.
At checkout, K-Mac noted that I had forgotten club soda. I counter-noted that it was not on the officially sanctioned Dollar Tree grocery note. I lost, but ran heroically to the soda aisle.
As it happened, I fell in step behind a guy whose wife was pushing their cart one step ahead. She kept turning her head, talking sharply to him over her shoulder.
When she turned into the soda aisle, the guy peeled off and kept going. My best guess is that he’s in North Dakota by now. It left me right behind Cart Woman, stopped between the club soda and the cherry cola.
Over her shoulder she snapped “I’m getting the Dr. Pepper. You go get the Ex-Lax.”
“But,”I said, “I hate Dr. Pepper.”
With bottle in hand, she turned and stared, as if I were some lying, low-life anchorman.
“Where are you?” she demanded.
“I’m…right here,” I whimpered as I quickly grabbed for a liter of the grail.
Back at checkout, I handed K-Mac a bottle.
“This looks like Dr. Pepper,” she said.
“They’re out of club soda,” I replied savoir fairely.
I’m pretty sure she didn’t believe me.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2015, all rights reserved.