(but not really.)
It's Sunday evening, around 7:00pm. I had finally mustered up the ambition to tackle the dreaded chore of grocery shopping [shudder]. I drove down the road, (about 3 blocks) to the nearest grocery store. Let's call it The Flower of a Plant (in an attempt to avoid traffic to my blog from people googling coupons for their local store. It's bad enough these phrases keep sending people my way: "swimming pool ass crack," "tater tots and whiskey shots ain't much of a menu lyric," and, my all time favorite, "blonde puke". But I digress).
|Not the store I went to|
I pulled into the parking lot, which looked relatively empty. I happily parked my car, far enough away from the store to not feel lazy, but close enough to not dread the walk back. I double checked for the necessities- shopping list, wallet and cell, before exiting the vehicle. With everything safe and secure, I proceeded to the entrance of the store.
The following is a reenactment of the inner dialogue running through my head during my grocery shopping experience.
"Well, this is nice. I guess it won't be so bad. Doesn't look like it will be crowded at all."
"Oh look. That man is about to put his cart in the corral. Maybe he'll offer it to me instead."
"Or maybe not. That was a weird look he gave me. Whatever. I'll just get a cart when I get inside. Wow, grocery shopping might actually be okay tonight."
"Huh. There are quite a few people hanging out front of the entrance. That's weird. Whatever. Maybe they're all waiting for someone to bring the car around."
"Huh. So I guess I just have to weave my way around them to get into the store. That's a little inconsiderate. Whatever."
"Wait. Why are they all looking at me? Weird. Is my flannel showing? I knew I should have changed first."
"Man. That one lady was huge."
"Alright, time to get my cart... off to the produce section... where is the produce section? Oh! There it is! Wow, it sure is tiny. That's what she said! Ha! Score."
"There sure are a lot of men shopping late at night. But... uh... they don't have any carts, and they're not carrying anything... that sure is odd. Wait a minute. Are they looking at me? Why are they looking at me?"
"Wait. Is that man approaching me? Phew. No, he's just headed for the grapes."
|The preferred fruit of sexual predators|
"Grapes? What man goes into the store for just grapes? Huh. That's odd. Wait. Is he approaching me now? Oh, phew. No, he's just looking at the apples. Just... like... I'm looking at the apples... okay... time to move on..."
"Whoa. Where did those men come from? They weren't in the produce aisle a moment ago. And they're not even looking at the food. They're looking at me! Uh... next aisle, next aisle!"
"Phew. It's empty. Now, what was it I needed in this aisle again...? Oh, right... Pickles!"
"What the hell? Is that the same guy with the grapes? Did he...? Did he just walk by and look down this aisle? Ack! There he goes again."
"Okay. Okay. I'm just being paranoid. It's been a long day. I'm tired..."
"Wait a minute... now I know those men aren't shopping for anything, and I know they're just standing around looking at me. This is totally freaky. What else is on this list? How many more aisles? Maybe if I just move on, they'll go away"
"Phew. It worked. Time to get the chicken and ground turkey..."
As I was browsing the poultry, an employee from the meat department approached me. In broken English, he asked, "Uh... where you from?"
"What the fuck? What does he mean, where am I from? What kind of question is that."
I looked up from the chicken breasts, and answered, "Uh, down the street?" It was at this moment that I really took a look around me. Standing a little ways down were three to four Hispanic men, just milling around and talking to each other. As I looked around the rest of the store, I noticed that most of the other customers were also Hispanic men.
And this is when my newly discovered racist gene took over.
"Oh shit. I... don't think... I... belong here. Where are all the women? Fuck, where are all the white people? No wonder everyone's looking at me. The fluorescent lights are probably reflecting off of me in a way they're not used to seeing around here. Fuck."
"Okay, I just need to get the milk and the yogurt and the cheese..."
"Fuck. I forgot the bagels. Bagels be damned, I'm not going back for them."
"Fuuuuuck. I forgot the beer. Whatever. Tonight we drink whiskey."
|Sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good.|
And then, in surprisingly record-breaking speed, and as calmly as possible, I finished my grocery shopping, terrified of disturbing the locals, all while enduring the looks that my paranoid imagination viewed as hostile and quite possibly deadly.
I hurried to the parking lot and threw the bags into my car, oblivious to the delicate cans-on-the-bottom-bread-on-the-top grocery bag loading strategy. And then I drove away as fast as my little car would let me.
After relaying my experience to a co-worker the following day, she had this to say, "Yeah, aside from One Who Visits Stores in Search of Merchandise or Bargains, The Flower of a Plant is the worst grocery store to go to. My husband won't even let me go there alone. You should go to A Person or Thing of Great Size, that's the white people store."
And this is why the G-Man will be responsible for all the grocery shopping from now on.
(p.s. Remember when the only thing I had to worry about on my trips to the grocery store was whether or not the bum on the corner had peanut allergies? I kind of sort of miss that.)